View Full Version : Martial arts and kicks above the waist question

Jack 99
September 1, 1999, 04:48 PM
Seeking opinions:

I have a total of about 10 weeks of martial arts training (a long time ago, I might add) but I'm thinking of jumping back in. I'm in way worse shape than I should be at my age (31) and just can't see myself doing aerobics.

Anyway, when I was a pup I took some Karate and was told at the time by instructors that kicks above the waist were for Hollywood and a handfull of extraordinary martial artists. I took that advice to heart and have heard it from others who have studied martial arts over the years. I have also witnessed 2 "street fights" where one combatant attemped to kick the other above the waist. In one situation, the guy's leg got trapped under the other guys arm and he punched him in the crotch with his free hand about 5 times (maybe the most brutal thing I have ever witnessed). In the other instance, the kick hit the guy in the chin, but just didn't do much even though it looked like it had quite a bit of force behind it. On the other hand, the shortest fight I ever witnessed involved a swift kick to (of all places) the ankle followed by a knee to the crotch. From this collected experience, I've always considered those high kicks to be pretty stupid.

What's the concensus out there? Should I look for a school/system that emphasises "realistic" self defense and low kicks, or should I forget the whole matter completely and go for whatever system I think will fit best with my level of skill/fitness? I'm asking because I'm thinking about studying Kung Fu, which I understand emphasises high kicks and has very little practical "street" value.

Thanks for any input.

"Put a rifle in the hands of a Subject, and he immediately becomes a Citizen." -- Jeff Cooper

David Wright
September 1, 1999, 06:09 PM
I seriously urge you to check-out SCARS at www.scars.com. (http://www.scars.com.)

I trained in a number of different styles over the past 25 years, and this system is the fastest to get anyone up to speed in a useful street ready method. Consider why the other "styles" are called martial "arts".

All other things being equal, someone who has seriously practiced SCARS for a short while is a very, very dangerous person (to BG's) indeed. Give them 1 month compared to the other styles..... Well, you'll see.

I have shown the SCARS video training tapes to a good number of mature, un-opiniated, martial arts type folk, and not one of them has failed to be impressed. That says a lot when you think about it. The most often opinion I have heard voiced by folks after a class, or after seeing the videos is how much time we felt was wasted doing other things.

This is not to denigrate others who have spent years (decades!) reaching a high level of skill in their endeavors with other systems.

It is, however, a real test of oneself to do things differently that work better, even if is not currently fashionable, or you spent years on other styles. (me)

Check it out. It is a real eye-opener.

September 1, 1999, 06:44 PM
I'm 45 and was looking for something get in shape and provide a useful by-product by rounding out my defensive skills. I looked at different styles of karate and picked Isshinryu because of the low kicks and no-nonsense basics it teaches. I also sought out a Sensei/Dojo that focused on the self defense aspects of the discipline rather than tournaments. So far I'm pleased with the choice.


September 2, 1999, 09:49 AM
I've also had over 20 years of training in various types of martial arts (several of them in their native countries) including:

Tae Kwon Do
Muy Thai
Shotokan and other styles of Karate
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Sambo/Shooto (Shootfighting)

If you have time for only one martial art, I think that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is it. It is simply the most effective one-on-one, unarmed combat system, proven by numerous no-holds barred AND challenge ("garage") fights.

I've seen someone who trained in BJJ for one year render unconscious (with a choke) someone who trained in Karate for over ten years. Mind you, the latter outweiged the former by over 35 pounds (not to mention being much more muscular). The whole thing took two minutes.

To ansnwer your original question, high kicks are not only useless, but highly dangerous to the kicker himself. Whenever you kick high, you unbalance yourself, and make yourself vulnerable to counters or, worse still, takedowns. Then you'll get mounted and get your face beaten. You'll then turn on your back and your opponent will back-mount you and choke you out.

There are, however, two effective ways of kicking. One is the BJJ style low front (or low side) kick to the knee. It is, however, only useful in keeping your opponent away OR as a distraction to set up a takedown.

The other is the Muy Thai style roundhouse kick to the thigh (more specifically to the nerve center underneath your thigh). I've seen Muy Thai boxers who weigh 150lbs. bring down 200+lbs. gorillas with this kick. It's really something to see these giants crumble on their leg, because they cannot support themselves on one leg. The downside to this kick is that it has to be applied repeatedly (good 10-15 times) to be effective against strong, muscular, large opponents. Against trained grapplers (BJJ, Sambo, Judo, wrestling, etc.), this type of kick isn't going to work for very long unless the opponent has never dealt with Muy Thai fighter before.

Really the most effective striking technique involving the leg is the Muy Thai style knee to the sides or, better still if you can, to the face. That you get high hit probability and an instant knock-down power. Of course, a trained grappler will know to position his body to render ineffective your knee strikes (in fact, many grapplers use your knee strikes to take you down).

My two bits. If you have any more questions, or need some website addresses, contact me either here or by e-mail.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

September 2, 1999, 10:24 AM
Im no *expert* but I found issinryu and because of its fight oriented classes and practical no nonsense approach it has become the core for me. There is a concept called the complete warrior, and its not a hollywood/mag hype--find something to give you the basics and add to it in the areas it might be weak or perhaps "forgotten uses" in some kata's, when bjj was whoopin butt in the ultimate figts, my school brought in --forgot his name, but a man who officiated in the olympics in atlanta to do seminars several times and well as the blackbelts going to his school and training with him to instruct us---some of what we noticed in working through the techniques was that some of the moves being covered already existed in the katas. The particular shool and instructors incorporate aspects of different defense strategys, shooting, knife defenses(clipit style stuff), while my experience is limited to 5 or so years of being a walking talking punching bag I would look for a school that does something similar....fubsy.

September 2, 1999, 12:07 PM
For a more well-rounded SCARS picture, I recommend checking out the following page:


In general, the advice not to kick higher than the waist is a very sound one.

This is just my opinion so please don't take it the wrong way, but generally speaking, a ground fighter is more effective than a standing up one only because a ground fighter has been trained to fight opponents that fight standing up, but not the other way around. What *I* would like to see is a true sumo and a BJJ mix it up. :)

September 2, 1999, 01:56 PM
As a former practitioner of Hapkido and a current practioner of Wing Chun Kung Fu, I prefer Wing Chun. There are many different style of Kung Fu (Wushu) and Wing Chun does not have high kicks. If I wanted to kick you to the head, I would knock you to the ground and kick your head there :) Anyway, this art does have elements of stand-up fighting, grappling and trapping, (kicks, punches, submission holds--more importantly how to get out of em). I like watching UFC, but that isn't reality. BJJ is great for one on one, but with multiple opponents...it just doesn't fly. I suggest you look around and see what system best suits you.

September 2, 1999, 04:22 PM

I am going to have to strongly disagree with your claim that grapplers are good against stand-up fighters because the former mainly train to fight the latter.

In fact, most grapplers actually train to fight other grapplers. For example, BJJ practitioners usually train to fight against other BJJers, Shootfighters, Samboists and etc.

I don't mean to be offend anyone, but between a purely stand-up fighter (boxing, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Nihon Jujutsu, and ad naseum) and a grappler (BJJ, Shootfighting, Sambo), the latter is going to mop the floor with the former.

That grappling is good for only one-on-one is a valid criticism. Theoretically, striking or other stand-up techniques (say stand-up joint-locks of Aikido, Nihon Jujutsu or Hapkido) appear better for multiple attacker scenarios. But, in reality, these techniques seldom work against an experienced streetfighter let alone two or three of them.

I still maintain that if you can learn only one martial art, BJJ is the best. Sure, UFC is not real life, but it's heck a lot closer to real life than Tae Kwon Do (Wing Chun, Karate, kickboxing or whatever you like) tournaments or matches where rules are even more restrictive.

As usual, my two bits.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

Jack 99
September 2, 1999, 05:40 PM
What about Jeet Kune Do? Any specific criticism of that style (non-style?)?

It looks interesting. There's a guy close to where I work that teaches both Jeet and BJJ. I think I'll check him out.

September 3, 1999, 10:03 AM
There is a guy named Roy Harris in San Diego, I think, who teaches a range of different techniques including BJJ and Jeet Kune Do. He is a certified instructor in both (black belt in BJJ from Joe Moreira and an instructor of some repute from Sifu Dan Inosanto). If you live nearby, you might want to try him out.

I think that Jeet Kune Do is a very effective, precisely because it has no strict and rigid adherence to a particular set of skills and it is geared for "street" fighting. Its striking, trapping and stand-up grappling are excellent. In fact, Sifu Dan Inosanto is now a purple or brown belt in BJJ and has made a great deal of effort to incorporate ground grappling into Jeet Kune Do. One of his grappling instructors is Eric Paulson, who is a master of leglocks and stuided BJJ, Sambo and Shootfighting for a long time (with some notable names/instructors including Rickson Gracie).


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

September 3, 1999, 11:29 AM

Let me just say that I have no problems at all if you disagree with me.

But, if I may just say so, I think the real determining factor is that it depends on how well a person is trained as opposed to what style they take. And in that, conventionally speaking, I find more people who get their butt kicked by grapplers is because they've never trained to grapple. On the other hand, all grapplers fight opponents that start standing up. That and the fact that grappling wasn't mainstream up until just recently. So, what ends up happening is that a grappler is generally more well-rounded in terms of training from both sides of the fence than someone who only trains standing up.

Here's another thought to ponder. In Bruce Lee's book, one can CLEARLY see that he has studied grappling, at least to some degree. But in practice, he himself doesn't use it much. I've often wondered why and have the following hypothesis to offer: He fights better standing up. Bruce is a small, light-weight guy compared to the average American. So, he doesn't have the luxury of relying on brute strength as other would. Instead, I can only assume that his body is more effective generating explosive, kinetic energy. And to do so is to fight standing up.

That is not to say he wouldn't mix it up on the ground. In the movie Enter the Dragon, he demonstrates that perfectly in the beginning when he was sparring an Asian opponent. I say it's perfect because he doesn't go STRAIGHT to the ground as some people who profess that grappling is the holy grail would. Rather, both standing up and grappling have their advantages and disadvantages. He ONLY went into grappling when he knew it was the right place and time to do so. And that's pretty impressive even if it's only a fictitious movie.

And I don't argue that grapplers train fighting against other grapplers. It wouldn't make sense if it didn't. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough on that point. But I have every reason to believe that, for now, grapplers are superior only because grapplers have to train to take down an opponent standing up (among other things), but someone who only trains to fight standing up may not have had any training fighting on the ground. Thus, it's not the style, but the nature of the training that makes the grappler superior.. generally speaking.

Here's my future forecast. If it isn't clear by now (as it should), it will be soon: Grappling isn't the do-all end-all style. Grappling has been around for centries. If it really IS the do-all end-all style, all the other ones would have been phased out by now. And when the short-comings of grappling finally becomes main-stream knowledge, the American public will move on to the next fad or "magic bullet" of styles.

[This message has been edited by SB (edited September 03, 1999).]

Jack 99
September 3, 1999, 12:12 PM
Roy Harris was the guy I was going to check out. His dojo is about a mile from where I work.

Thanks for all the advice, guys. I think I'll check out a few places and probably go with Jeet for now and maybe BJJ sometime down the road, unless I end up taking both at once.

Danger Dave
September 3, 1999, 12:54 PM
I tried resisting the urge to post on this, but I am going to resist getting into another arguement with Skorzeny...

Jack, as I understand it, JKD is a combination of a lot of different martial arts - Wing Chun Kung Fu (simultaneous attacks & counters), TaeKwonDo (those flashy kicks), probably western boxing and some Phillipine martial arts, and some Shaolin Kung Fu. I don't know much about Kung Fu, but that seems to be what I've seen of JKD. As to the "effectiveness" of it, that's not something you can whip out a pen & paper and calculate - that's a very individual thing, dependent largely on the student's abilities and the level of instruction (both of which can vary greatly). There aren't a lot of JKD schools out there, so I haven't seen much of it.

As far as can high kicks be effective, I'll have to say go against the general consensus here and say yes, they can be (ask Bill Wallace) - BUT - you'd better understand and accept the limitations and risks inherent in the technique - AND - you'd better be darn competent and confident before you bet your life on it, just like any other technique. If you make a mistake, the results won't be pleasant. Most schools now don't train for combat, they train for competition, and a lot of the "martial" aspects are disappearing from martial arts (I think a more accurate term for most of what is being taught now is "martial sport"). I think that's why you see so many high kicks vs. mid-to-low kicks now - head kicks look good, and they score 2 points instead of 1 in most tournaments. Now, I'm trained in TaeKwonDo (19 years under a 7th dan master in TKD/3rd dan in Hapkido) and I can say that I wouldn't use a high kick in a fight, unless the PERFECT opportunity presented itself - otherwise, the risk is too high (including pulled/torn muscles - you probably won't have time to stretch first - not to mention getting kicked in your supporting knee, taken down, or nailed in the groin). Low kicks take less time to learn to be effective, are lower risk techniques for the attacker, harder to defend against, allow a quicker follow-up with hand techniques or takedowns, require less flexibility (I could still kick low when I trashed an adductor muscle in my leg), etc, etc. On the other hand, if you learn to kick high with power, you can kick low with power, and everywhere in between. A swift kick to the head can be a nasty surprise to someone who's not expecting it, as can a swift kick to the knee.

Just a thought - is there a Ukiku-do (spelling?) school in your area? If there is, it might be worth taking a look at (Benny Urquidez' style - a mix of Shotokan, Kempo, Muy Thai, boxing, TKD, and one or two others). This is not an endorsement of the school, but Benny U. is no slouch.

As far as personal advice, whatever you choose to study, train hard, practice every technique like your life depends on it (one day it might), pick a style/school with a strong solid foundation and instructor, and stretch a lot (even if you never kick above the knees, flexibility reduces injuries and recovery times). And, most importantly, Have Fun!

PS And try not to get too caught up in these "my style/school is better than yours" arguements like some of us can't seem to help doing (like me). I don't think anyone would study something they thought was second best.

David Wright
September 3, 1999, 09:15 PM
Oh SB, for shame. :(

I was trying to help someone get-up-to-speed with a system that would get him there quickly, and, once again, we get the smoke and mirrors.

I went to the "well rounded" address you suggested on SCARS. I can always tell when someone doesn't really know anything about SCARS.(or a LOT of other things discussed here, for that matter) It's kinda like the boys in high school bragging about having sex, and you can tell who has, and who is just blowing shinola out their ears. Right? ;)

He leaves no name, signs his monograph "ex-frogman", and say things that I KNOW FROM FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE ARE SIMPLY NOT TRUE. Lotsa opinion and no direct experience perhaps. Same as it ever was. :)

I can't debate it. I don't have to. I have lived it. :) :) :) :)

No if's, ands or buts. Full stop. End of story. ;)

I'm not mad at all. Just highly amused at what some folks accept as fact on this post. Also, unlike some I know or know of in the martial arts industry, Jerry avoids the word "guru" or shifu or seafood or big cahuna like the plague. Unlike most dojos, at his facility, you are not bowing low toward a picture of someone or some concept. I guess some folks need a quasi-religion in their lives. ;)
Unlike many, Jerry doesn't knock your style of martial arts at all, he just shows a scientific, highly effective, duplicatable, repeatable approach to fighting and lets you decide. Science vs "arts".

If one is looking for "ooh, ahh" sex appeal, SCARS is not for you. Oh, and by the way, with rare exception, the kind of folks that Jerry works with, the majority of martial arts instructors have never even heard of, let alone worked with.

Believe me. Some of these folks would/should scare you, cause they actually, really do for a living what you sometimes see in the action movies. Most of my instructors(overseas and in the U.S.) have never been in a true life or death situation short of those "harrowing" encounters with the local drunk at the bar.
Some of them blow this off by saying the true warrior is so wise he can avoid such matters and never needs to fight for his life. Then they misquote or misapply some famous saying by Musashi or Tzu as elegant proof of their inexperience. Oh, o.k. Right. Sure. Nonsense.

As the "ex-frogman" would probably agree, spec-ops folks are highly opiniated about things, especially if they don't work. SCARS works quite well. That's fighting standing up, lying down, zero gravity in water, Gracie JJ or whatever. The way SCARS blows away some of the "invincible" grappling moves and holds is hilarious. Give me your very best grapple triple death hold or whatever, and I will get out of it every time.Maybe not super fast, but I will get out. And I'm not that great at it yet. I have shown this to grappler fans, and the stunned silence I hear(?) after I break the hold tells all.
It is soooo damn simple, it's embarressing. It is most humbling when you practice SCARS and you have all those decades of "status", belts, Dit Da Jow and training and broken bones, bruises and etc, and you try NOT to make SCARS work, and it still works. Even when you know the move the other guy is going to make. Simply awesome. No excuses. Just results. Let me say it again. Give me twins with equal skills, intellect, strength, etc.
Train one of them with SCARS. Train the other with whatever system you fancy. In a real "no holds barred" fight, I KNOW who will win. I mean a real fight, where one of the combatants doesn't walk away from the ring. Ever. No rules, no referee, no rule book.

Please let me know how YOU have verified this stuff as "well rounded" or accurate to your satisfaction. If it's your opinion, so be it.
That's all it is.

Oh, and by the way, my real name IS David Wright. No mystery. Nothing to hide... ;) ;)

David H. Wright
Bring this man a
goat and a bowl of fruit

[This message has been edited by David Wright (edited September 03, 1999).]

September 3, 1999, 11:52 PM

I'm going to try to explain this as delicately as possible, though I fear that it'll still fall upon deaf ears.

While your intentions are good, much of what SCARS commercializes is smoke and mirrors. Many details, which unfortunately I am specifically told not to divulge, are anything from exaggeations to outright lies. In fact, so many folks in the SEAL community are ticked off with SCARS that, if you'll go to the SCARS website, they have an "official document" stating that they have never been publically black-balled by the Naval Warfare community.

Personal experience with SCARS? Well, I have a friend who was simultaneously trained in multiple styles of grappling and stand up fighting. Always looking for an edge, he purchased the SCARS system. He told me, much to his dismay, that there's nothing in there that he didn't already learn from the first two years of his martial arts training. When I asked to see it, he said he lost it. Being a martial arts fanatic, I was surprised that he would lose anything unless it was useless to him.

The "ex-frogman" that you speak of did not want me to divulge his true identity, but he has good reason which I get into later. On the other hand, maybe it's not that surprising because SEAL folks, by and large, tend to be the quiet types. Or at least that's what my impression is. All I can really say is that he's a retired SEAL who has been taught SCARS and that was his impression of it.

There are many reasons why people use aliases instead of real names. And I think either way is fine depending on your motivations. Yes, it's true that many hide behind aliases, maybe because they're juvenile and can pretend to be someone they are not. My personal reason is that the net is still full of dangers. It's a wild country out here, and if you're not careful, it's the same as walking alone at night wearing a T-shirt saying, "Mug me." But you can trace my presence as far back as the very beginning of this forum. I may use an alias, but I am consistent and I don't use it as a means to hide. Anyways, back to Mr. "ex-frogman". The reason why he doesn't use his real name is because he is still working within the SEALS community.

The other reason why he decided to be anonymous is because he has gotten quite a bit of flak from folks who are fanatical about SCARS. Admittedly, there are still folks in the community who love SCARS and SAFTA, not to mention non-spec ops or even non-military folks. And he simply doesn't have the time to explain to everybody, "Look, SCARS is, in many ways, a scam. It may only be my opinion, but you're going to do more harm than good in the end if you buy into it."

But in the end, it really is only one person's opinion. I've been looking everywhere for someone, WITHIN SEALS, willing to come forward and present the pro-side to SCARS. To date, I have not been successful. That is not to say such folks don't exist, just that I haven't found one yet. BUT, if ANYONE on here can find me someone-- WITHIN SEALS and not directly related to any of these two organizations-- willing to step forward and testify on SCARS or SAFTA's behalf, PLEASE let me know.

Actually, SEALS don't use hand to hand combat too much. I liken them very much like a mongoose, small in stature, but larger than life in ferocity. In that, I mean the typical MO is to have two men jump a sentry silently while a third one provides overwatch with an auto. They don't take it to the ground, they don't even take it standing up. They just take you out as unfairly to their advantage as possible.

So in actuality, when SCARS was first introduced to the SEALS community, it was used mostly as a psychological means of morale boost, much the same way as bayoneting is, or was, for army folks. SCARS was one of many styles or systems introduced to the community, but the main sticking point many has is that they [SCARS] decided to blow it out of proportion and sell in mass media hype. If you didn't know better, and all you did was read their ads, you'd think that's ALL SEALS ever used. Once again, the do-all end-all pitfall that many fall into.

If you really want to reach "ex-frogman", please e-mail me and I can act as your liason. Yes, the preceeding are my opinions. I have neither the means nor the permissions to prove what I have stated. Please realize that what you have state is your opinon as well.

Normally, I couldn't care less on what other people's opinions are, but I learned years ago that if you give someone bad advice and they got hurt because of it, you're just as responsible for their pain and suffering. It is because of this that I have specifically declined to teach.. unless ordered to do so. While I don't think SCARS is necessarily bad, since it seems to be an mix of techniques from legitimate styles, I personally would never rely on it to save my hide, nor would I recommend it to anyone. And that is why it I am taking part of this discussion.

[This message has been edited by SB (edited September 04, 1999).]

September 4, 1999, 03:59 AM
There are numberous discussions on SCARS by people more qualified than I on:
www.bladeforums.com (http://www.bladeforums.com)
www.knifeforums.com (http://www.knifeforums.com)
www.altinet.net/~karate (http://www.altinet.net/~karate) (look under video reviews)
www.kungfuonline.com (http://www.kungfuonline.com)

Having seen one of the tapes, the material appears to me to be Kung Fu San Soo.

It appears that Peterson is charging a lot for his course based on the Black Belt article I read.

Having gone to the site, the tapes and the courses appear to me to be a little pricy.

It appears that we have an active practitioner online so I direct my questions to him.

What type of sparring do you do?

Is training based on theoretical assumptions as to how a person will react? If so, how is it practiced and what research was done to reach those conclusions?

Is the practice done on on compliant or non-compliant individuals? Against what type of attacks?

What type of weapons work is done?

It seems that the only place to train is in Az. or via video. If Az. is the only place to train, how often to people travel there? How do you get hands on training?

As mentioned many times before, Style is superseded by the individual.

Just as an F-4 Phantom is living proof that you can make a brick fly if you strap a big enough engine on it, some people have enough natural attributes to make any system work (e.g. Kimo).

Although there are claims that no MA styles are bad mounthed by SCARS, looking at the FAQ, there is a section on martial arts. Where several systems are critiqued.

Not sure of the original topic for discussion, but, I was under the impression high kicks were to be able to maintain a dynamic stretch. Some TKD people I respect told me that they would normally only kick below the waist.

Like Chuck Norris says, it is nice to be able to kick at any level you choose. Furthermore, having flexibility is not necessarily a bad thing.

As far as JKD being a compilation of techniques, JKD is a process. Personally, JKD is about being proficient at all ranges of combat, including weapons. Having said that though, I'm no expert on JKD since I focus on FMA.


[This message has been edited by Eskrimador1 (edited September 04, 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Eskrimador1 (edited September 04, 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Eskrimador1 (edited September 04, 1999).]

David Wright
September 4, 1999, 10:32 AM

No harm, no foul. I just had to check you out a little. I see enough postings from current and retired TEAMs guys that give their real name, address, blood type, etc, even when it is a negative posting, I just had to wonder a bit. It's o.k. if you want to keep a low profile. ;)

Sometimes I feel the uncontrollable urge to flush out potential fakes. They are the ones that talk the longest and loudest at the SOF type conventions. I particularaly like these types when they try to "help" me teach a CHL or firearms class. True, the real dudes usually keep a very low profile. When was the last time you saw a SEAL wearing a watch that said "U.S. Navy Seals" on it? Ha!

My personal favorites are phony TEAM guys, Marine snipers and gurus that have never been in a gun fight or serious lethal encounter. I have done those dirty deeds , and it ****** me off royally when folks try to give advice that is based on something they read by a "gun writer" or heard from someone at a shooting range. I bump into TEAM guys on occasion and Marine snipers a little more frequently, and in time, when speaking with the phonies, they usually trip up somewhere.

My praise of SCARS is still legitimate and objective and here's why. For us regular folk who are not actually in the Spec-Ops community, when compared to what else is out there, it is the fastest way I have seen to to get a person up to a lethal level quickly. Also, what I learned in class is not exactly what they taught in BUDs for obvious reasons. It is geared more to civilians for civilian encounters. As you know, most martial arts styles have a lot of of "artistic" moves that don't really contribute to putting the other guy down. SCARS stays away from that stuff. And the new tapes they have on grappling are outstanding.

Show me something that is truly faster to grasp, easier to teach and learn, more eficient and is more effective than SCARS and I will switch. Many have made claims to me, but none have panned out yet. :)

It either takes too long, requires a higher level of fitness than the average civilian, has too many moves, too much dojo politics, etc. I am open minded. Show me.

I can't speak on the class that was referred to in the Black Belt article because I wasn't in it. The class I attended was not filled with bug eyed SOF wanna-be's, or TEAM groupies. It was filled with fairly skeptical but open minded civilians, one or two military folks, and LEO's. I also avoid most martial arts magazines, gun magazines and SOF magazine. They're going in the direction of National Inquirer and People IMHO.

Another thing that impressed me was the staff, including Jerry himself. He would really work with us and go over in detail various strengths and weaknesses of different systems. To me, he was totally without ego. Same goes for his lead instructor, Tim Larkin(former left coast TEAMs) and Jerry's son, Blake. Anybody who has been around the world a little will figure out pretty quickly after being around these guys, that they aren't phonies.

If you knew me well, I am an EXTREMELY hard sell. The ads don't impress me and although I respect what someone has accomplished in the military or civilian world, titles really don't impress me. Results do. They can get great results from somebody soooooo fast that I cringe when I think of the decades I spent pursuing other martial arts.

What does impress me, is what I saw when we were practicing moves after class. Some of the folks there have substantial martial arts backgrounds, both civilian, military and law enforcement. The bottom line is, when you have an idea (or know outright) of what move the other guy is going to take, and you try many different ways to counteract it, and it still works, you have to sit back and think a moment.

I'm not used to seeing that in any dojo.

As far as that guy losing his tape, that's amazing. If I hated a tape, and could get my money back (as with SCARS) I would send the tape back. They are expensive, but worth it.

Also, although he doesn't go into it on the tapes, but in class, he is truly on to something when it comes to understanding the human mind in combat situations. When he explains it in detail, and clearly demonstrates it to us and to each other over and over, and it works even when we try to REALLY sabotage it and mess it up, you know it works. Even if your moves are a WHOLE lot less than perfect, it still works well. How many martial arts sytles can we both name that will not fit it this catagory. Most of them, right?

As I mentioned long ago in an earlier post, someone that I knew that earned his black belt from Joe Lewis, got killed by a regular 'ole street fighter. My friend was fast and furious, and had his second black belt, but I guess the street fighter wasn't aware of that when he killed him. Something to think about, eh.

Lastly, I have to comment on things said about Jerry personally. Unless one is hung-up on status, it doesn't matter what Jerry's background is or his personal affairs with a former student. When someone cannot objectively argue the merits or doubts about something without constantly casting doubt about the person, there's a problem there.

Your friend's post seems to have a lot of personal opinion (negative) and he perhaps doesn't like people who make money. Even if he doesn't like Jerry, the system still works.

Results are the only thing that really counts.

Show me something faster to learn or better.....

P.S. Went to view the "expert" opinions on knifeforums. If you think these folks are better educated than you, you are mistaken.
If you are an operator as you claim, you can recognize by the style and verbage of those posts, that most of those folks are wannabe's. Right? Right.....

Most of the reviews were:

1. Very(!) subjective personal attacks

2. Written by people that (!) don't really understand the SCARs system. If someone had truly srcutinized this system, and then, in a mature, objective fashion said, "Here's the problems I see..." but we never see that do we?

3. "A reliable, but un-named source that is a good friend of mine at BUD's", et al.....I guess I could play that game too with my contacts.

I will look at the other posts mentioned, but will be sorely dissappointed if they are of the low quality (and low mindset) that I have seen so far. Do you have anything better I can look at?

David H. Wright
Bring this man a
goat and a bowl of fruit

[This message has been edited by David Wright (edited September 04, 1999).]

September 4, 1999, 12:33 PM
D. Wright: Perhaps my post and SB's post are being combined.

I post the other sites because they are available. Caveat Emptor, their opinions are valid to the extent you believe in the credibility of the originator of the post. I happen to respect some of the posters, and trust their opinions. I also trust my own based on what I have seen.

As far as the opinions being unsubstantiated personal attacks on Peterson, I have no interest in that. You believe in him, you know him, you met him.

I am more interested in what you talk about in the last part of your post which is an objective evaluation of the system, which I ask in my previous post. To paraphrase:

What type of sparring do you do?

What type of trainig methodology do you employ?

What type of weapons work do you do?

I think that the belief that there is a fast and easy way to make someone lethal is the Holy Grail of martial arts. Physical skills require muscle memorization and a plethora of conditions for them to work under ideal circumstances. As Punong Guro Edgar Sulite said, "Repitition is the mother of all skill," and repitition takes time.

Wright, since you teach firearms, you know what I am talking about. The simple act of firearm presentation may take thousands of reps to get proficient. And that is only one physical skill which can be practiced solo. Even then, under duress, you may not be able to get the draw out correctly.

To have a system where there is a physical interaction between 2 non-cooperative combatants which claims to work 100%, well...

Again, I ask these questions because I am curious in the system.


David Wright
September 5, 1999, 05:28 PM
Eskrimador1, I apologize for the mix-up.

This is kinda long(several bathroom breaks maybe), but I didn't want to leave out anything because this system is such a serious breakthrough from the other things out there. Apologies to Jerry if this isn't perfect. Below is what I understand of the system. I am greatful to have access to someone like him that can really do what others claim to do.

First and foremost, the one complaint I have of SCARS is the marketing style of the magazine ads, but I understand.
Everybody nowadays seems to use this style, and it works. It actually delayed me from starting SCARS sooner. Also, if one seriously wants to look sexy while fighting, this isn't for you.I was young once, and I know you guys are out there. ;) This is only about stopping the other guy(or guys) NOW. It's about winning and walking away. Tag and bag 'em.

I have studied all of their tapes and have attended two classes in Arizona. I had to sacrifice a lot to buy the tapes and attend the classes, and I would have no hesitation to warn anyone if it was a rip off, even when I was the schmuck that was ripped off. I was very skeptical for a long time, but the more I tried to objectively tear it down(me and others) the better it looked. Part of the problem initially was getting a clear understanding of what was really happening here. I would speculate that someone with no martial arts background would really catch on quickly. They have no preconcieved ideas and take it for what it is.

1. Most of my sparring in the past 25 years has been fairly full contact, with appropriate protective gear. At the SCARS classes, the "contact" gets progressively fuller without protection and as the days progress, up to get nailed full force wearing a flak jacket. Those jackets don't protect you from a good heart shot though. ;)

2. I currently train with my wife and another person because they are somewhat familiar with the system, and I know they will give me an honest "attack". Sometimes, it is more than an honest attack! As far as methodology, I exclusively use the SCARS system now. All people react relatively identically when they are punched, struck, poked, etc. By learning these subconscious reactions, it is easier to "set-up" and/or choose your targets which increases your potential. Once you have set these events in motion, the attacker is at a grave disadvantage, even if they know the SCARS system already. Once you see it, you'll understand the advantage. If you see the tapes and think this is just a set of martial arts moves distilled down, you're missing it. Once you get the"ah-ha" with some understanding, then it gets real interesting.

I had to look at them several times before it sunk-in. My formal martial arts training (and prejudice) restricted my learning.

3. As far as weapons, I will assume we are leaving out firearms since this is hand-to-hand or hand-to-weapon. I rarely use standard martial arts weapons because that's not what you see the most on the streets. I use (or simulate) improvised stabbing or cutting weapons, clubs, pipes, chains, etc.
SCARS is great because your moves with an empty hand are basically the same moves you would use when you get a club, knife or even sometimes a pistol or rifle in your hands. Talk about outstanding consistency. It works very well in real-world VERY tight CQB.
For instance, if you were sitting on a couch, swimming in a pool, getting out of a jaccuzi, sitting in your car, walking on a slippery surfae in dress shoes(!) etc., SCARs would serve you extremely well. Most of the other styles do not. It works standing up, laying down, etc. Try a lot of your fancy moves in a suit with dress shoes on wet pavement. You will get hurt. You will fall. Alot.Your suit will restrict you. Trust me. ;)

4. As far as this system being easy to learn, it is. It's diffcult to explain on the net, but the moves are so natural and basic that you get up to speed quickly. True, some of the moves are familiar because we are all basically trying to hit the same targets regardless of style and some of the moves are distlled down from other styles (I think). It's just that there are many wasted moves and blocking moves that are not needed and waste valuable time in other styles,IMHO.

5. Regarding the claim about being 100% effective, it is. Here's why. Even if your opponent throws the first punch, blow, etc., you can still "land" the first blow. In SCARS, you are picking up targets in your primary and peripheral vision, and nailing whatever is presented to you. You're not wasting any time with inefficient moves or blocking or that dreaded and deadly "defensive" mindset.
There is a lot more to that defensive mindset than meets the eye. If you're relying on blocks, you are forcing your mind during a battle to flop back and forth between defensive and offensive modes. Very inefficient. Very dangerous.(can get you injured or killed) If you watch the combatant's faces carefully on movies or matches, you can see them "switching" back and forth, in their mind and fighting style, and the hesitation. Gee, now I'm attacking. Now I'm defending. Now, I don't know what is happening. :) :)

Now, couple this with the fact that how and where you strike your opponent will control his movements so you can set-up your next strike, and he's toast.Even when you're less than perfect.
The ultimate power of this system is that it is sooooo forgiving. Much more forgiving than my experience with the other styles.
You go through your moves and in doing so, even if sloppy, ill-executed, or less than perfect and not blinding fast, it's still going to nail them somewhere along the line. And, since your opponent is in a pretty full reactive mode(switching), you are several steps ahead while their mind is trying to process what the hell is going on. It doesn't take long, but it does take time, and that's when you can nail the bastard.You're simply ahead of his game, no matter what he does.
Is so simple, it's stupid. But, sometimes, we are so educated, we can't see the forest for the trees. I am more impressed with this stuff that when I first started accepting it.
I have been in real knife fights and gunfights, with and without weapons.More than once. Not on purpose. Usually. I have been shot, stabbed, sliced, diced, bruised and contused and broken-boned. If what I am about to say hurts somebody's feelings out there regarding their favorite style, Sorry. Much of what is taught in the major "name brand" dojos, simply does not work when the real deal goes down. It has gotten people I care about injured and killed. It has gotten me injured ad almost killed, and I was doing it right most of the time. Being there beats BS every time. ;)

**This is not to denigrate what others have accomplished, and this doesn't mean that you can't learn from other styles and I'm not suggesting that they are not tough, well trained people out there that can take care of themselves and are due some respect for what they have acomplished**. That's my standard, anti-flame statement.Probably get flamed anyway. So be it. :) :)

For example, we studied the Gracie system. This is not to degrade the many years of work and research that they have done, but their system is VERY beatable. When we were shown the "unbeatable" locks and holds that grapplers use and how to escape them, I couldn't believe it. Neither could a few fellow students that count on those moves. After only two tries, I had it nailed down perfect. Even though the "opponents" knew what I was going to do, and tried their best to sabotage my efforts it worked every damn time. Also, the moves to use if a person or persons have you FIRMLY pinned to the wall, or to the floor or etc,., can be learned and utilized in mere minutes. You will simply not believe it. True, going up against a well trained fighter will keep your hands full, but, they don't know what you know, and that will cost them dearly. ;)

I won't even talk about the firearms disarms. Smooth and easy. No long term wrestling match here. You learn to read the other person and when the time is right, you take it away. Over and over and over again. Even when they know you are going to do it. Scary. True, some of these things are not on the tape in this detail. You will have to go to class. It's worth every single penny. How much have you spent in the past 20 years at the dojo?
If you invest in yourself and this system (money back guarantee, of course) you will have an distinct advantage.

Working with this stuff after class at the hotel, and talking with the other students, the subject that frequently came up was, why hasn't anyone else figured this thing out to this level? I don't know.
Jerry is a real hardass about details, and if you make a claim about something, you better be able to back it up or prove it right there, right now.
He's not being a guru or an ass, he is just detailed and methodical (!!!)in his actions and thoughts on these matters and doesn't like to waste time with pet theories, egos and other nonsense. Perhaps that is why he saw the weaknesses in other systems and went on his own "journey" to figure it all out. He does have it all figured out, IMO. The actual physics, the dynamics, the DETAILED thought processes at work during combat. Not only does his system work, he can fully, unequivocally back it up with science. Outstanding.

A point of speculation, but when you speak with true masters of any style, I believe their mastery is from not ony technique, but understanding themselves and their opponents minds. They understand a much broader fuller total picture of combat than most folks. Yet they may not really know why in detail and therefore, it may not be teachable. It is experience. You know what I mean? Jerry has that, AND he knows the why and what and how, AND he can duplicate that in others. Are you starting to get a glimpse of what we are saying here. This stuff is DEEP, but no mystery b.s. ooh aah. It's still pure science, but, it's deep. And you don't have to spend years or a lifetime to get it. What more could you want?? It doesn't take thousands of reps beacause most of the basic moves are so fundamental and elemental, that I could show a technique to you, and you could effectively execute it the very first time in an actual confrontation with no practice whatsoever. We've done it. You can do it. What other style can do that? Many of these simple but highly effective moves would elicit a laugh when they were demonstrated. I t was because it was so simple, and yet, you could see right away that it would work. We would look at each other, silently laugh, and shake our heads.

True, it does progress faster with a partner, and there is a "partner" list at their website, but even so, there is so much for you with this system. Check it out. You have nothing to lose. If it's not for you, you get your money back, and you can speak objectively and intelligently on why it is not for you. I will make one promise. If you spend enough time to truly understand it, and get a good handle on what Jerry is really teaching(mind processes), you will be very enlightened. I was.
What a deal.....

David H. Wright
Bring this man a
goat and a bowl of fruit

September 7, 1999, 02:06 AM
I have seen Peterson's first tape. I do not know if that is the current material SCARS is teaching.

If that is the case, a set up to a technique or a counter offensive mind set is nothing new nor is the simultaneous attack/defense. It is in Wing Chun (Lin sil die?), FMA (use of check hand), silat, Boxing, Muay Thai, JKD (intercepts) and fencing (riposte). In each case, it is a highly developed and subtle skill requiring very good timing.

At issue, I feel, is the ability to pull off properly sequenced attacks which are pre-planned based on some theoretical neural response (I say theoretical because it was explained to me by a pressure point fighter that that many types of neural responses are based on a bell shaped curve) is a low probability maneuver.

An example: My understanding is that Jab-cross-hook is one of the most basic of combos in boxing, yet, very infrequently do you see a TKO resulting from a perfect combination of jab-cross-hook.

Theoretically, a jab is a set up, a cross stings, and a hook is a power shot. Jab + Cross + Hook = TKO. Even done sloppily, there should be enough power at least to inflict some damage.

By analogy, if Person "A" attacks me any way, a sucker punch, whatever, and I am quick enough to react, counter him with a jab-cross-hook combo, I should theoretically knock him out.

In boxing, I have seen lots of punches thrown, but I have not personally witnessed a TKO resulting from a jab-cross-hook combo.

In sparring, I have not been knocked out with a jab-cross-hook combo (other stuff, but not the most basic of combos). We are not even at this point considering the fact that a person will react defensively.
Furthermore, not everyone reacts to a jab to the face in exactly the same way.

If a jab-cross-hook is seldom pulled off, what about some other preplanned combos? Wouldn't it be harder to pull off in sparring?

The counter argument to that is that sparring is not combat. True, however, Sparring is a method of training which closely approximates the adrenal state and will allow you to attempt techniques against a non-cooperative oppponent. Of course, sparring has to be done in all its variants (minimal gear, full contact, lots of gear, no gear, etc.)

I find it very difficult to pull off techiniques without some type of basic understanding of power, rhythm, timing, or distance. Sparring develops those things. For instance, a jab may not be the best short range tool. A hook may not be the best long range tool. To simplify is great, but each tool must be utilized properly. What I saw, if I remember correctly was akin to prearranged sets.

In other words, Attacker does this. Defender does this. Attacker then should do this. Then, Defender does this, this and this.

I am not too sure if that is current instruction, but unless that can be done in a sparring situation, it exists purely on the artistic level IMHO.

Murphy isn't too selective on what style he trains in.

Secondarily, I don't think anyone is saying there are unbeatable techniques in the Gracie system or any system. THere are no full proof techniques. Every counter has a counter. Each counter has a counter.

I don't know what your instructor's experience with the Gracie system is, but I know several people within that system who tell me that the system is evolving constantly. Grappling arts as a whole are evolving trememdously from when it first became the rage in the late 80's and early Nineties. IF the exposure to the system resulted in acquiring a few basics, those basics may have changed.

My exposure to BJJ is minimal. However, I know that a straight arm bar and a rear naked choke are not the only tools that you have for a submission nor is the shoot to the waist the only take down.

Thirdly, on a theoretical level, the weapons movements are identical to the empty hands techniques in the FMA. The limited exposure I have to the Doce Pares System teaches that as part of their curriculum. That is not an original or revolutionary idea from SCARS.

In conclusion, I am not necessarily saying that SCARS is bad, FMA is good and best ultimate system yadda yadda yadda.

What I am saying is that if a system is effective, it should be tested in the sparring arena, or what is referred to by some people dismissively as the "sport" setting.

NHB matches may be "sport," but I don't see long lines of people lining up to volunteer and fight in the ring and possibly get their head bashed in. Boxing is a "sport," but I don't see a whole lot of martial arts people lining up to fight boxers. What about Muay Thai, that's the national "sport" of Thailand. How many people would like to try and fight a Thai Boxer? I don't think I would, even if I had a stick! Or Pancrase, anyone want a shot at Bas Rutten?

Now, I have no reason to doubt that D. Wright has done all he claims to have done. I think though that after 25 + years in the martial arts, that must have some effect on being able to absorb the SCARS curriculum and to be able to pull some stuff off. 25 years of full contact sparring will definitely improve timing, distance, rhythm whether it be sparring in TKD, Boxing, or Wrestling. I am glad that someone has found a system that they can use which can be practiced off video and without regular class attendance, can be made to work.


September 7, 1999, 11:39 AM
Mr. Wright:

You seem to suggest that you can get out of any "Gracie" holds or locks. In fact, in one of your posts, you state that quite explicitly.

I don't know how much exposure to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Sambo you have, but I can assure you that if a BJJ practitioner has you correctly backmounted, with the hooks in and is controlling one of your arms, you will pass out in about three seconds from a rear naked choke (due to constriction of the blood flow to your head as opposed to strangulation from lack of oxygen).

You say that you studied the "Gracie" system. What exactly did you do to study it? It sounds like you watched a few tapes (extremely basic tapes at that). If not, who was your instructor and where was the location? It appears to me that the only people who make the kind of "those Jiu-Jitsu locks don't work on me" talk are those who've only dealt with BJJ with tapes or against "instructors" with cliff-notes knowledge of grappling).

I trained with a couple of professional fighters in grappling. They fight in cages for fun (not something I want to do, but hey, to each his own). Once a very large man walked into their training session. He was extremely large and muscular (he looked about 6'4" and 250lbs.;one of the instructors weighs 150-160lbs. depending on whether or not he competes) and claimed that he studied boxing and wrestling for years and that "none of those Jiu-Jitsu locks and stuff work on me." He challenged the diminutive instructor for a fight. He tapped about thirty times in five minutes and left with his tail tucked between his legs.

I, too, with my limited knowledge and training, have had a challenge fight with an instructor of a "leathal self-defense system combining Jujutsu, Aikido, Tae Kwon Do and boxing." The moment I brought him down, he turned his back (despite all his "full contact standup sparring" and static technique practices) and tried to get up. I mounted him, sank my hooks in, immobilized him, then elbowed his neck a couple of times. Then I choked him and he tapped.

I am all for cross-training. I am all for "street-leathal" techniques. I couldn't care less about belts or uniforms or ranks (I train in Vale Tudo - BJJ with no Gi and with strikes).

I have yet to see a more effective one-on-one, unarmed combat system (meaning no multiple attackers or weapons).

Now, I don't know much about SCARS (I've only seen a few techniques, which appeared to be curiously similar to Japanese Jujutsu and Chinese Sui-Chiao techniques), but if anyone from SCARS is interested in making a quick $100,000 and proving the effectiveness of the system, he can march himself to a BJJ academy in Torrance, CA and say "I can get out of any of these Gracie locks and holds."


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

David Wright
September 7, 1999, 02:26 PM
To Eskrimador1 and Skorenzy, good posts!

To both, as I mentioned in my way too long post, SCARS is a distilled (IMO) system that takes the best (scientific) of many styles, codifies them, makes them more easily teachable and duplicatable, and presents it in a (IMO) much better package. As I get older, (and you two will experience this to some extent if you haven't already) my back is getting worse, and there are many things from Karate, Judo, Aikido, Kung Fu, and all the other great stuff that I can no longer execute faithfully. SCARS fills in the gaps.

Skorenzy, the refences were not a challenge to the Gracies but to a fuller understanding of what is happening here. First of all, Jerry and his team went to Brazil to study with the Gracies and observe first hand, from the originators, how grappling was done the right way. The folks at SCARS had nothing bad whatsoever to say about the Gracies or the way they were treated when they were studying there. They consider them friends, and their visit was a cordial exchange of ideas as I recall.

As I remeber it, the Gracies start out holding in a "high" position to, for lack of a better term, encourage the combatant to do likewise. Then, while you're in a realitively high position, they dive and take you down.(I know that is a simplistic description, but for brevity, it serves the purpose here)
I will have to check my notes from the class, but there were several things that the Gracies would not let you do when sparring. Without making this post extra long, some of these things, IMO, would surely limit what could be done to you. Well, to be fair, when someone was trying to take me down and really try to hurt, cripple or kill me, there wasn't any rule book or referee. Am I making sense? Right. I know they were reasonably trying to reduce injuries, but when it also substantially changes the combat equation, then we don't have an acurate picture of combat. Right?
Just as a quick example, if I were allowed to do a real eye gouge (I'm talking popping the eye completely) or crush your larynx( I mean really crushing it),or, ouch, crushing one of your balls while wrestling around, it would change the equation. It's like having someone shooting at you with Simunitions versus an inanimate paper target.

There are moves (several) in SCARS that prevent someone getting you into a knockout situation. As a funny aside, The first time I tried to prevent someone tackling me, I had a brain hiccup, got run over by this speeding bullet nicknamed "Little Tony", and was knocked out along with a good whiplash.(in class)

Anyhow, as mentioned in some of the tapes and covered in detail in the class, a lot of stuff that one might presume would "beat" SCARS, are things that, when somewhat proficient in SCARS, one would not find themselves in. Aha! True, someone who is HIGHLY skilled in martial arts would keep you busy, but part of the system is "luring" them,if you will, into complancency.(some moves, not all) That is on the tapes, but you have to watch closely for it. It works even if your agressor is anticipating you doing something. Some of this stuff is happening on a subconscious level, and works regardless.

I remember someone asking Jerry during a break about Steven Seagal and his relatively
high level of skill. Jerry indicated that someone with a skill level of Seagal could take care of themselves, even without SCARS. That's what is so great about these folks.
They are so different from the "my conjones are bigger than yours" group that one finds so frequently in many martial arts crcles. When someone in class ( some very, very skilled in Kung Fu and other arts) would have a question or doubt the validity of SCARS, the instructors would patiently go over the particulars, to the student's satisfaction, with out talking down to them, or making them feel stupid. What a difference. All science and techniques without the macho BS.

Eskrimador1, as to efiiciency and jabs, you'll have to look at the current tapes in detail. One picture is worth a thousand words. The SCARS system assumes reduced efficiency in a real battle, and makes it part of your effective battle plan. I type too much on these posts as it is, and to get into the details would answer your questions, but bust the bandwidth, I'm afraid.
Or, better yet, if you don't mind, e-mail me directly with a phone number, and I will be glad to answer any questions to any level detail that I am educated at on the SCARS system. All of these questions are legitimate ones, and they are answered wsith SCARS.

Please e-mail...

David H. Wright
Bring this man a
goat and a bowl of fruit

Jack 99
September 7, 1999, 03:11 PM
Wow. Didn't mean to start all of this. SCARS sounds interesting, but since I'm mostly interested in finding a way to get in shape, a quick learn system without a lot of Dojo time involved wouldn't really suit me.

I'm curious though, can you describe maybe one move or series of moves from the SCARS system? Why can't I take a SCARS class here locally? Does this Jerry guy have a patent or something? I'm not too keen on watching videos.

Haven't got around to going to Roy Harris' Dojo, but I've heard good things. I'll keep you guys posted.

September 7, 1999, 05:12 PM

I don't know Roy Harris personally, but from all that I've heard, he appears to be a very very good instructor and a good human being.

From I can understand, his outstanding traits are:

1. Very experienced and skilled in a variety of martial arts (I think he studied several over the past 20 years) including Jeet Kune Do and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

2. Very intellectual and analytical (he writes many polished and analytical articles about martial arts training, mechanics of techniques, teaching issues and etc.).

3. Very friendly and loyal (he is very informal and does not use "sir," "sensei," "master," etc. etc.).

4. He still fights/competes (the NHB world is buzzing with his upcoming grappling bout with Vernon White of the Lion's Den).

5. He gears his training toward "street fight" or self-defense rather than tournaments or sports. I believe that he teaches law enforcement and the miliary as well as civilians.

6. He still learns himself. He trains still with Sifu Dan Inosanto of JKD and Joe Moreira of BJJ.

I think that he has a website (http://www.royharris.com/index.html).

Again, I don't know the man, but everyone I've spoken to about him had nothing but high praises. He is the kind of a guy that I'd love to train under. If he has a school near you, you ought to definitely stop by and check it out.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

September 7, 1999, 05:26 PM
Mr. Wright:

First of all, thanks for your calm way of debating. I guess that I got a bit worked up with my last post to you. However, I do feel that it was something of a challenge for you to state that you can get out of any "Gracie" hold or lock. I think that a statement like that is somewhat preposterous.

Again, I don't know how much BJJ training Jerry had in Brazil, but sports BJJ and Vale Tudo ("anything goes") are completely different things. A lot of outsiders don't seem to realize that.

For example, in sports BJJ, the closed guard position (where one is on the bottom but has his legs locked around the opponent's waist on top) is utilized to a great extent. In Vale Tudo, the open guard is used rather than the closed guard. Furthermore, many Vale Tudo fighters even discourage the use of the guard altogether (why, because one can eat punches in a real fight, that's why).

Once I was practicing the knee-on-stomach position with someone (slowly) and he said, "hey, I can grab or punch your groin from here." This is a common criticism among strikers about the knee-on-stomach position whenever they see it.

So, we tried an experiment. I would put on gloves, put my friend in knee-on-stomach position and he would try to attack my groin.

We started. He never got the chance. I ended up pummeling him in the face and his hands were busy protecting his face. I actually arm-barred him when he tried to protect himself and he stretch his arm out (I did a reverse/opposite side armbar by swinging around his head).

One has to understand that in Vale Tudo, ground grappling is combined with striking (usually from the ground with punches, knees and elbows). The idea behind Vale Tudo/NHB BJJ is to attain a superior position and, often by striking, to force the defender to make a mistake (stretching the arm out to defend himself, turning over, giving the leg to protect himself) which then can be utilized to finish the fight with a technique (a choke, an armbar, a heel hook, etc.).

In such a situation, even if the opponent can avoid the finishing attempt, he would still be in an inferior position and can be forced to make more mistakes.

One really cannot appreciate the full effectiveness of BJJ/Vale Tudo until one fights for real (or a challenge match, which I suppose is a bit more controlled, especally before and after the "fight") and at full-speed. Techniques which you think may be able to be countered cannot be countered very easily with fists and elbows flying everywhere.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

David Wright
September 7, 1999, 07:16 PM
Jack99, if you really want to get aerobic benefits and learn a self defense system at the same time, IMO, SCARS is not for you.

I believe Jerry wants to be careful who teaches what out there and wants true "quality control" as well as who learns this stuff. I don't know what his plans are regarding this. As far as moves, one of my easy favorites, is when someone pins you against a wall. We tried to mess this up or resist it, but it still worked. Doesn't matter if they are choking you, pinning you with a baton, whatever. Just start sliding sideways along the wall. The more they try to force you to stay against the wall, the faster you break out of the hold. It's hilarious. This works on brick, cinderblock, whatever. Yes, you will destroy your shirt, but, you get away. Doesn't matter how big or strong they are.
Another great one is to get someone really big (300+ pounds) and have them sit on your chest or abdomen while you are laying down, and as a bonus, have them pin down your arms as well by sitting on them or holding them. In one quick move, thrust your hips up like you're trying to mate with them, and push up on their achilles heels or actual heels. They will get tossed off you fairly quickly. Seeing it is better than reading this, but, once again, it works. I'm 6"-4", at 250 pounds, and my 57 pound 4 year old can do it to me every time. Yes, I try to keep him from doing it, and it still works. Try it. If it doesn't work, we're missing something. E-mail me.
By the way, if you go with another system, you certainly couldn't go wrong with studying with Inosanto or Harris. If it weren't for SCARS, Inosanto or Harris would probably be my very first choice. I may go visit Inosanto some time anyway.

Skorzeny, Vale Tudo is another kettle of fish entirely and I believe effective. Here's the problem though as I see it from a practical side.(for many other styles)

First, fitness level. VT is not for folks with back problems or a long list of other, real world things that can and do happen as you get older. Age affects everyone and in time something will probably restrict you too. ;)

Second, my long experience has been that real criminals don't tend to discipline themselves in a martial art to a high level of skill. It can happen, but it's not my personal experience. Criminals are lazy by nature. That's why they steal, Right? Also, I have seen too many bad guys that have a reputation for having some high proficiency of martial arts training, (even grappling) get taken down, and taken to jail. Some of these guys were HUGE, with huge muscles, and VERY fast, yet, into the cruiser they went. Yes, this even happened when it was just one police officer, not using mace, pepper spray or anything.

Third, when in very, very tight quarters, in a unfamiliar environment with furniture or junk all around, your choices can be limited if your technique requires a little more space to dance.

It's probably my fault, but these posts still seem focused on techniques and not the full dynamics of a fight as handled by SCARS.
As far as grappling issues are concerned, I simply brought up the ways of breaking some of the finishing holds, because to many, some of those holds cannot be countered.
1. SCARS (and some other systems) can counter them.
2. When doing it halfway right, you really shouldn't get into a fix like that in the first place.
3. When you learn to "read a person", and with proper verbal and nonverbal cues make them relax, they really won't get a chance to throw fists and elbows at you at warp speed.
Read this next section carefully.

This is the most fascinating and important thing about this system. I focused so long on technique, I almost missed it. In fact, my brother caught it first.
You can see this on the tapes, but he really doesn't get into it unless you go to the class. This part alone would put you way ahead with whatever system you chose. Jerry's on to something, and he knows what he is talking about. He went into it in class, about what is going on in your opponent's mind at various stages of the battle, and how you can anticipate it and somewhat control it. I can't divulge more than that.
This is not psychobabble BS. It works. And the sweetest part of the deal, is that all humans exhibit exactly the same functions and actions/reactions regardless of training or fitness level. Sober or stoned. Are you catching on to what I'm saying? How well would your system of choice work, if you could accurately anticipate and somewhat control what they were doing? Think about that a minute. There may be similar things out there, but SCARS, IMHO, can get you there much quicker. The best way to counter a blindingly fast set of moves is to end the fight before it gets to that.

I understand were you are coming from, I believe. I spent decades working long and hard to get a edge, and here comes this guy looking like Drake the magician, complete with black clothes, the goatee and similar gonzo marketing that the other "invincible fighting technique" of the week guys use, with the appropriate SEALS stuff and all these claims.

I don't know what you are looking for, but I sense you a looking for something. Perhaps an extra edge? Check this SCARS stuff out. Look at it objectively, long and hard, and remember what I said about the mind stuff. Enough of it is in the tapes if you look carefully to understand what I'm saying.

If it's not for you, get your money back.

I have to ask a smart question. What is your self defense strategy going to be when you get old enough not to do some of those moves you enjoy now? Lower backs are funny things.... :) :)

David H. Wright
Bring this man a
goat and a bowl of fruit

September 8, 1999, 12:18 AM
My self defense strategy would be the same no matter what the circumstance.

Run like a bat out of hell.


September 8, 1999, 10:05 AM
Mr. Wright:

I do not mean to be offensive, but from your post, it is quite clear to me that your understanding of BJJ/Vale Tudo is extremely limited.

I say that because you seem to emphasize the role that weight and muscular strength play in what you call "grappling." If you have any understanding of BJJ, you will realize that most decent schools and instructors of BJJ emphasize technique over muscle/weight (Kano Jigoro's "maximum effect, minimum effort"). In fact, most BJJ practitioners pride themselves in being able to handle heavier, stronger opponents. Helio Gracie is 85, but can still control and beat just about anyone (heck he even catches Rickson Gracie, his son and the Gracie family champion, if the latter "naps" for a few seconds).

That is also the reason why I got into BJJ because I got tired of bigger and stronger guys (with less skill than me) beating me in other martial arts. Even though I studied Tae Kwon Do for over 10 years, at 170lbs., I could not keep up with an extremely muscular 225lbs. guy from beating me in full-contact matches in Tae Kwon Do.

In BJJ, I routinely beat guys (with less skill than me), who are, compared to me, just humongous. Heck, my wife, who is 5'4" and weighs 115lbs. (she trains with me occassionally) can beat a lot of guys who are 6+' and 200+lbs if they have less skill than she does (she is, by the way, quite skillful with triangular chokes and leg locks). In fact, she has an advantage, because she has small limbs and is very, very hard to catch.

We (BJJ practitioners) go to the ground, because we consider the element of the ground like water - it equalizes weight factors. Leverage may not be everything, but it sure is much of it in BJJ.

The "simple" technique you described in escaping a mount is a common, old Jujutsu technique that some call "upa" or "oompa." It used to be taught quite widely in Jujutsu, but no self-respecting modern BJJ or Vale Tudo instructor will teach it much anymore. The reason: it can be countered very, very easily and can also lead to a painful leg submission for the person performing the oompa (see, as someone pointed out before, BJJ is constantly evolving; oompa is now considered "old" Jiu-Jitsu).

Try these:

1. Next time, have your partner mount you, then have him sink the hooks in (grapevine both legs from outside your legs into the crook of your knees). Then, have him hold your neck (from left side in) with his left arm. Then have him stretch out his right arm and base himself 45 degree to the upper right corner. Have him then put his head to the right side of your head (left side from your point of view). Try oompaing out of that one. He can stay there all day and strike your head/left ear.

2. When you try to do the oompa and hook one of his heels, have your partner kick the heel out 45 degrees. You now have knee compression. Your partner pulls it gently with one hand, and your knee breaks.

One of the great benefits of BJJ/Vale Tudo is dynamic training. We can grapple "full-force" and learn to deal with moving, dynamic opponents while performing submissions 95% strength (extra 5% being necessary to actually break elbows, knees, heels and whatnot). A lot of styles teaching deadly techniques are very good, but unless you can practice those repeatedly against a moving, dynamic, resisting opponent, you will not really be able to use them in a high-stress situation effectively.

Sorry for the long post. My two bits.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

David Wright
September 8, 1999, 01:04 PM
Eskrimador1, there certainly is no shame in running. I've done it before, and wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

Skor, read my post again. I only bring up strength as a measure of relative effectiveness of some of the SCARS moves.

Some of the guys in my class had a lot more muscle than I, and it was interesting to all of us that even though one can "sometimes" work around a technique with brute strength, it doesn't work here. Also, One does not have to have all of this warp speed for it to work. That's the best part of all.

And, the big point I believed you missed, was how un-skilled most of the average criminals are. I don't know how many bad guys you have brought down and helped put into a police cars, but I stand on my experience, not speculation.Street experience beats dojo speculation every time. ;) At your present skill level, you are probably WAY over trained to handle the average bad guy. You are trained to fight a very skilled fighter, and that's way enough for the streets.(that's a good thing to have) :)

It makes me wonder what some people are training for. Many I know could easily handle(if they had any grappling skills at all)almost all, if not all of the normal encounters.
Keep in mind, I am not trying to change your mind. If you're really satisfied with what you do, I am delighted for you. If it works for you, then what anybody says doesn't matter. We can throw around statistics all day, but it has no meaning. I don't have all of the details of what you do with your system, and you don't fully understand mine.
That's o.k. by me. If you don't buy what I am saying, it matters not in the slightest. :)

The only people I am trying to reach, are those that are looking for somthing better. In my opinion, SCARS is. Enough people(civilians, LEO's and military) with impressive skills from many systems have been through the SCARS facility, that if it WAS inferior, I would have heard about it, especially during our after-class discussions long into the night. Do you understand?

If mystery ex-SEALS or self important gurus on another post want to badmouth SCARS, well, people tend to fall back on what they do best. So be it. It speaks volumes on them, and it's not good. In stark contrast, Jerry personally doesn't go there. That speaks volumes also. Right?

As far as trying some of the moves you where suggesting, you missed my point again in the last post. This sort of thing can get into the "what if" mania, and is not the domain of professional fighters.

1. If you do SCARS right, the other guy (gal?) won't have a chance to do the things you describe.

2. The odds that your average bad guy is going to be that skilled are rare if almost non-existent.

3. For the relative time invested in SCARS that would bring a person to any given skill level we can come up with, I have seen nothing better. Period. The moves you suggested have a level of detail that would take some time to master. Most of the SCARS stuff can be nailed down quickly. If you were new to learning fighting skills, what would you want? I will say that pinning down the mind aspect of it was slower for me. The moves still worked, of course, but some of the deeper meaning was lost to me for awhile.

By the way, we do use "dynamic, agressive, noncompliant" etc. partners, and SCARS still works. Flailing arms, elbows, knees, groins, earlobes, fingers and all. But, we must train REALISTICALLY, musn't we? If I had a dollar for every time someone suggested something involving guns or tactics at this site, that I know from experience doesn't work... ;)

I'm not trying to be a ass here, but that's as plain as I can make it. Sure, it's also possible for a 747 to land on my house, but I don't have any real plans for it if it happens. Training with someone who has 20 black belts, titles out the wazoo and can wrestle 20 men to the ground, all the while quoting Shakespear, has some benefit, but is not reality based training. And, as has happened to me before, someone always comes along and issues a thinly disguised challenge basically saying I can beat you with my system, doesn't get it either. The pros avoid that kind of stuff.

Sad to say, some people I used to respect(and buy their product) here and on other posts, fall into this childish trap. Do I want to do business or listen to someone that has the emotional control of a 12 year old? Not for me. Not even if they have a superior product.
If they are invovled in some aspects of the deadly arts, yet can't control their emotions, why on earth would anyone listen to them? ;)

Something else was brought up frequently in the class. Many students,(none of the LEO's, by the way) were " What iffing" everything to death. As the instructors patiently explained (and the LEO's verifyed over and over and over again)many things that some folks train for and think will happen, either don't happen at all, or so very rarely, it's not worth wasting your time. This, in my experience, happens way too often in dojos. Maybe some of the things taught, are not really needed? ;)

Beyond that, that's all I have to say on this. You will have to call(or e-mail) SCARS and ask them questions. I'm confident that they are well familiar with your system,
and can tell you what you need to know.

Good luck with your training.

David H. Wright
Bring this man a
goat and a bowl of fruit

September 8, 1999, 04:22 PM
Heck, running works for me, too. I'm all for track & field!

Unfortunately, sometimes I cannot run away (for example, if someone attacks my wife or if someone insults her honor, etc. etc.).

Mr. Wright: you are absolutely right that many stylists are over-trained for street encounters IF AND ONLY IF we are dealing with common hoodlum or a criminal (that's the police perspective as you stated).

Unfortunately, some troublesome street thug types are not necessarily looking to steal or mug, but to prove how tough they are. With these types of experienced street fighters, many traditional techniques won't work (forget Tae Kwon Do, for example).

Mind you, I am not saying that SCARS does not work. All I am saying is that no matter how effective or intensive a system is, there is no way in hell that a week of training is going to make you skilled enough to deal with a street fighter as some of the SCARS ads seem to proclaim. Maybe a clueless bully, but not with an experienced street fighter.

My personal experiences are not only from the dojo. For the past ten years, I have not been involved in a single fight. My personality has changed completely, especially since I met my wife. But when I was going to school and living in NYC, I had some "issues" and got into street brawls, literally, daily (hey, I am not proud of it, but it happened). I've fought with all kinds of people: street brawlers, wrestlers, boxers, TKD practitioners, Karate-Ka, Judoka... You name it. I'd say that I won about half of the fights at most. In 99% of the fights, my opponent and I eventually went to the ground where I was clueless (in retrospect).

Both Jeet Kune Do (which I do not practice) and BJJ/Vale Tudo have tons of challenge fights and street fight experiences to them. In fact, they were shaped by them. What did not work was discarded. The counters to the "upa" that I described, for example, are not high-level skill moves. They are common in Brazil, for example, where not even chumps try to use the "upa" because it WILL result in a broken knee.

Ultimately, I haven't seen this kind of street testing doen for SCARS. BJJ schools often have open challenges to other stylists or thugs (I have a very nice video tape of a BJJ instructor fighting with, and then thoroughly destroying, a Mexican gang member, who thought he was tough and could make easy $100,000 from the academy). Whether you approve of their mentality or not, the BJJ fighters are out to prove in the streets and in the rings or in garage fights that their system is the best one-on-one, unarmed system in the world. They have been doing that for 75 years now.

When SCARS has that kind of a history of success in real fights or near-real fight NHB matches, then perhaps you should start claiming that it is the best and that you "can get out of any Gracie hold or lock easily."

At the same time, I understand that SCARS works for you and that's great. But IMHO, BJJ is still the best martial art for one-on-one, unarmed combat to study if a beginner is going to stick around more than a few weeks.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

David Wright
September 8, 1999, 05:40 PM
Skor, that was one of my beefs with TKD. I got my BB in it long ago, and, just about any fight, if it goes on long enough, goes to the ground! I too ,like you, in my younger years went out to "test" some things, and got two bullet holes and numerous cuts from the experience. I didn't get killed, but.... :(

I think the lack of SCARS street experience is that their focus, IMHO, is still with the military. Now that they have had the DOD contract, that's were their business is, naturally.

I do wonder about the competition aspect of it all. Offering large sums of money, albeit with a rule book and referees attached, irks me a little bit. But what can we do? I have seen a small portion of a REAL(real illegal) no-holds-barred video with no rules or refs. One of them doesn't walk away from the ring. Ever. I have seen the legal versions and although very similar, there's just something about literally fighting for your life that changes everything. No kidding.......

As far as street thugs with high levels of experience, maybe that's true in NYC.
Down in Texas, that's simply not the case.
Also, I don't make a habit of going to places where "west side story" wannabe's hang out. I carry a gun with me everywhere, and I can read folks very well. It have saved me numerous times.
Also, since I am a DPS instructor, I can't escalate confrontations like regular civilians. I have to play the nice guy, and try to walk away no matter what they say. Oh, I love that part!

Yes, I used to cruise around NYC on foot at 3-4 a.m. in the morning. More than once. On purpose. Don't ask. You still can't get good pizza by the slice down here.

I spoke with 3 BJJ practicioners that were in the first class I attended, (George was from NYC and teaches a ladies self-defense class in the area) and they have a different take than you on this stuff.

Maybe it's a lack of ability on my part to convey it in writing. Like I said before, if nothing else than for the mental part of what Jerry teaches...

Let me know if you ever hit Texas, and I'll treat you to a REAL steak. You NY boys do eat red meat still ,don't you? ;)

David H. Wright
Bring this man a
goat and a bowl of fruit

September 9, 1999, 08:23 AM
Thanks for the invite, Mr. Wright!

I don't live in NYC anymore (which is very, very good for my health actually, seeing as how there are some folks there who would love to get their hands on me).

I live in the Midwest now, where the beef is, well, just supreme!

And, no, I can't get good pizza by the slices here either (or good Thai food for that matter)!

Keep training.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

David Wright
September 9, 1999, 04:49 PM
Then Thai it is. We have a dozen or so outstanding Thai restaurants....

Devil and the deep blue sea behind me,
Vanish in the air you'll never find me...

[This message has been edited by David Wright (edited September 09, 1999).]

Mike Spight
September 17, 1999, 10:24 AM

The SCARS sounds interesting. I visited their website and I think I understand the following: It's pretty much a self-study program via their video tapes; you can travel around the country and attend various seminars they give for "one on one" inter-face with their instructors. Is this basically it, or have I missed something?

I liked what I read there...like you, I'm at the age where I don't think my lower back, etc can tolerate the regimen imposed by a traditional art as it once would.


September 17, 1999, 01:01 PM
To All:

I mean absolutely no offense to anyone who like the SCARS system, but after a detailed research, I've concluded that Jerry Petersen is a fraud of the highest order at worst and a very good salesman at best.

I've found that not only does he make outrageous claims for his sytem (that buying the extremely expensive tapes and taking his $5,000 seminar will make you unbeatable "guaranteed"), but he also basically watered-down and re-packaged Master Bill Hulsey's Kung Fu San Soo, which he does not acknowledge at all (claiming that he invented this "revolutionary system") unlike any other legitimate instructors of fighting systems who give credit to their instructors and systems.

I also found out that, basically, he suckers a lot of novices who feel uncomfortable about "Oriental" or traditional martial arts with his wild claims and an expensive advertizing campaign (spends thousands of dollars in almost every martial arts and gun magazines each month for full-page ads - yet none of these magazines had any positive review articles about SCARS).

I also heard from one Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt (that's after a white belt, so a relative beginner in BJJ) who was intrigued by SCARS and plunked down the money to attend a seminar. In all fairness, he described SCARS as a good basic (and he means B-A-S-I-C) hand-to-hand fighting training for someone with absolutely no fighting skill, but at the end of the seminar (during the "free-sparring" phase at the end), he could control pretty much and easily everybody at the seminar with his blue belt BJJ skills.

Apparently during one of these training sessions, Petersen showed how "easy" it is to defeat grapplers by having someone attempt a double-leg and then simply hit that person in the head as the person came in ("see, how easy it is?"). This obviously competely ignores the fact that grapplers often set up takedowns with low kicks, punches, knees or elbows or waits until the opponent makes the first kick or punch.

This is the same deluded notion that a lot of pure strikers still have about grappling ("hey, I can just punch him or kick him as he comes in"). You watch UFC I or II and can figure out that this type of plan did not really work out (to understate it a little).

Now, some of you might say that I should not judge it until I've taken a look at the system myself. Well, I have no intention of spending hundreds of dollars for watered-down Kung Fu San Soo tapes or several thousand dollars for a few day seminar when a large number of experienced fighters and instructors have seen the system and said that it is crap (not that these techniques are bad, but that one can learn these basic techniques much cheaper and better elsewhere).

I have been in enough fights and trained in enough styles to know what's bull****, what's for show only and what really works.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

[This message has been edited by Skorzeny (edited September 17, 1999).]

Byron Quick
September 18, 1999, 12:12 AM

I posted this on the previous thread but you probably didn't see it.

Basically, I agree with part of what you are saying and vehemently disagree with the other part.

Agree: BJJ is awesome one on one unarmed.

Disagree: BJJ is the best for a person to learn for street use.

The "best one on one unarmed" is a fatal flaw.

I have been in over thirty fights. Serious fights not schoolyard not dojo. I've fought four people in two of these and eight in another (they were unarmed-I wasn't :)) Not only won-didn't get hurt. The only fights I've lost were the three where I was jumped from behind. (I check six a LOT nowdays)

On the street, at least down here in the South, it is difficult to arrange a fight one on one unarmed. Especially the impromptu variety.

If I'm out somewhere and some dude goes to the ground with my buddy-well, it's time to kick some guy's head in.

I'm not trying to diss your art. It is formidable in its chosen arena: one on one unarmed. If a BJJ practitioner cannot guarantee those conditions then it becomes a recipe for disaster.

Ain't taking up for SCARS. I know absolutely nothing about it.

Danger Dave
September 20, 1999, 07:36 AM
Geez, Spartacus, remind me not to hang out with you ;)

Byron Quick
September 20, 1999, 07:54 AM

I haven't been in a fight in a long, long time now. Over ten years. When I stopped repossessing and face to face collecting the opportunities seemed to dwindle :) People get upset when you back an empty truck up to their door for some reason.

September 20, 1999, 11:09 AM

Your criticism is valid. The BJJ techniques that most people see are geared toward one-on-one unarmed fight.

Now, what about multiple opponents?

Well, BJJ has a fairly strong stand-up component that is not emphasized or shown during realty-based type competitions where, obviously, one-on-one type of techniques matter more.

BJJ stand-up techniques are almost identical to Judo and Japanese Jujutsu techniques (throws, chokes, and arm and wrist joint-manipulations, low kicks, etc. etc.). So, you are not missing out on stand-up techniques for self-defense.

But, let's talk about the multiple opponent scenario some more. If BJJ is not effective for multi-op scenarios, what martial art is? I dare you to tell me a few (TKD? Wing Chun? Shotokan Karate?). The fact is that most of these arts aren't even good for one-on-one fight let alone multiple opponents, especially if you are weaker, smaller and slower than your possibly experienced streetfighter opponent.

I'll say this again (for the 100th time). People have got to get rid of this Walter Mitty, Hollywood movie fantasy of walking into a fight (unarmed, but with steely, quiet eyes) against four experienced street brawlers, only to render them unconscious in three minutes with only a couple of scratches.

For me, any kind of martial arts system is a weapon of last ditch defense. First of all, I am going to avoid any confrontation, especially if there are more than one possible opponents. If I am ever forced to fight more than one person, you'd better believe that I am going to have a shotgun, a handgun, a knife or a stick (I do not like baseball bats as they balance poorly). The only time I would use BJJ is if someone attacks me and I cannot run away or avoid the fight. In that scenario, I would be, more likely than not, already on the ground from the tackle. Lastly, some ground grappling techniques are actually geared for multiple opponents. Sambo fighters, in particular, have excellent techniques for grappling more than one person.

I am all for cross-training. You want to be a complete fighter? Study BJJ, Muy Thai, Jeet Kune Do and boxing. If You just want to learn enough techniques to defend yourself from a street bully, a thug or a rapist, then learn BJJ (or Sambo, Catch Wrestling, etc. etc.). Stay away from something that requires a great deal of strength, flexibility, conditioning and split-second timing like Tae Kwon Do, Karate and Kickboxing.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

[This message has been edited by Skorzeny (edited September 20, 1999).]

Byron Quick
September 20, 1999, 12:12 PM
Well, for one thing you seem to automatically equate martial art systems with unarmed fighting. Some aren't. Most classical jujutsu styles did not consist of empty handed techniques. The left side of the body was involved in the grappling technique while the right hand was seeking a chink in armour with the knife it held. I would personally seek a style that integrated sticks, knives, and flexible weapons into its curriculum. Canes can be carried anywhere and even lead opponents to underestimate you.

Tell you what. Take your "well rounded BJJ, Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Boxer martial artist. Put him up against a half ass stick fighter or Kali man with a Spyderco. I know who I'll put my money on.

Empty hand martial arts are enjoyable. I enjoy them. They are valuable as a last resort and a forlorn hope. But you better be a budo god if you think you are going to go up against a trained armed opponent and win unscathed. You'll have to be almost unbelievably good to win and wind up crippled. READ SUN TZU AND THEN READ IT AGAIN AND AGAIN. I've been reading it for thirty years. Take an old man who knows Sun Tzu in his bones. Put him up against any number of young, hot martial artists of whatever style. I know whose side I want to be on. This is not a game.

Byron Quick

September 20, 1999, 12:34 PM

1. Yes, I use the term martial art and unarmed combat system interchangeably. I recognize that many Nihon Jujutsu techniques were actually derived from sword techniques (which explains why there are so many defenses against Shomen-uchi in Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu), but for convenience, I use the term martial arts to refer to a group of unarmed self-defense techniques.

2. I would bet my money on the "halfass stick fighter" or Kali fighter with the knife too. However, I would also bet my money on a half-ass gunman or shotgunner, too. What is your point? My point is that I consider "martial arts" to be the last ditch defense system when I cannot run away, cannot avoid the fight and am without a weapon (a blade, a gun, a stick, a cannon, a fighter-bomber, etc. etc.) or cannot bring a weapon into play.

In such a case, I think that my case for BJJ or Sambo is pretty strong.

By the way, have you ever seen the Dog Brothers? They started out as stickfighters and ended up adding many grappling techniques (courtesy of Machado brothers, who are cousins to the Gracies) when they discovered that many of the stickfights when to the ground. So, they teach a unique brand of stickfighting combined with BJJ.

Try to catch one of their videos if you can. They're wild!


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

September 20, 1999, 01:07 PM
For some reason, all this reminds me of the old Monty Python skit with the British officer training the troops in how to handle a man armed with a banana.

Full Brit accent on:
"What if he comes at you with a POINTED STICK?"

oh, nevermind... :) ;)

Jack 99
September 20, 1999, 01:31 PM
Cheapo - LOL!!!!!!!!!

Too funny. That's got to be one of the funniest Monty Python routines ever. Very appropriate.

I really didn't mean to start all of this. For what its worth, I'm going to meet Roy Harris on Thursday for my "free introductory lesson." I talked to him on the phone and he seems like a good guy without too much attitude. I asked him how effective he thinks his training is "on the street" and his response was that there is no such thing as an ultimate system, in his experience. He did say if I trained with him seriously for a year, I could pretty much count on being able to at least inflict enough damage in an unarmed street fight to be able to get the hell out of the situation against at least 99% of the population.

Seems like a pretty sound philosophy, I'm in my 30s and my days of having to prove anything to anybody are pretty far behind me. If my response to a threat is to kick some guy in the groin, knee, whatever, and run like hell, I'm not going to lose any sleep or feel any less manly.

I'll let everyone here know how it goes.

David Wright
September 20, 1999, 04:57 PM
Spartacus, I try to teach them, but they just chew the covers off the books....Real life elludes(sp?) some folks. ;)
Know what I mean?

Skor, shame on you. :) The following is definitely not a flame, not even a flicker, but maybe together we can bring you down out of orbit and back to earth safely. :)

How can you be fully up-to-speed on SCARS in a couple of weeks when you knew little or nothing (by your own admission, If I am correct) about the details several weeks ago. That's an incredible talent! Folks should be considered top level experts when they can evaluate accurately any system that quickly! What would Humphries say about your expertese? (experTEASE perhaps) :)

Careful, people are watching. The two or three BJJ folks(not novices) that were in my SCARS class didn't share you or your friend's opinion. Maybe they just don't get it. ;)

I have received some private e-mails requesting more info since I posted regarding SCARS. Five of them voiced concerns that they didn't directly post here at TFL due to possible verbal confrontation by some "gurus". They wanted to ask someone who has some "experience". Uh, ahem, yes indeedy. ;)

Your verbage seems to indicate a personal vendetta against Jerry and his system, your post is subjective(!) and no amount of disclaimers or diplomatic verbage (nothing personal against SCARS, but...) will hide that fact. As your post goes on, it gets more and more emotional and personal. It is clear to anyone who reads it. So be it. If that is the picture you want to present of yourself, that's your business. :(

If you don't like SCARS, just say so, and move on with your life. But to spend so much time here regurgitating your distaste for Jerry speaks volumes. Nobody beats a dead horse, but you seem to want to. Curious. ;)

I find part of your post very offensive. I'm not trying to blow you out of the water, but please read the following carefully. If this post is getting you angry, then get over it. Don't zip through it. You need to realize what you are implying about some of us out here. I believe an apology or at least a clarification might be in order.

I'm no novice (or a *DFV like some), and I'm not a sucker either. And the others I have PERSONALLY seen at SCARS and worked with including HRT, LEO's, LAPD and others that I cannot name and YOU PROBABLY DON'T BEGIN TO HAVE THE CLEARANCE AND/OR REFERENCES TO HEAR ABOUT LET ALONE TO ASSOCIATE/WORK WITH, would probably love to have you explain how they are novices and suckers. I would pay $$ to see you stand before them and state your case. That would be, uh, ah, educational, would it not? The folks that I am very fortunate to associate with are out there frequently doing things that almost all dojo owners and dojo groupies dream (or dread) about getting into. I can tell who hasn't. Period. Full stop. End of story. (for you Marcinko fans ;)

If you are trying to win the hearts and minds of people over to your personal choice, you aren't going to get very far at all with subjective attacks. It never worked for me in my younger years.

Nothing personal, but, regarding SCARS, you don't have any idea what you are talking about, and it's obvious. Here's how we all can tell. When studied carefully, your post contains lots of unsupported personal opinion and hearsay, and no real, accurate,definitive details about the system. Ah, the devil is, indeed, in the details. If you really studied it in detail, then you could make an INFORMED opinion of what you felt were weaknesses or problems and specifically convey that to us OBJECTIVELY without all of the other subjective personal NONSENSE. Right? Right.

I'm not mad at all, but, Skor, really, you make me laugh...HARD.... You have a lot to contribute to this site, but cool it by pulling back on the emotion a bit. You'll get a better audience that way. I still struggle with it. I've been "reigned in" more than once here, but haven't gotten booted yet. ;)

Relax, take your blood pressure medication and take it easy. You don't have to post a reply to me, but think about what I said for awhile. Calmly.
My offer's still good for Thai....

*DFV= Deadly Force Virgin

[This message has been edited by David Wright (edited September 20, 1999).]

[This message has been edited by David Wright (edited September 20, 1999).]

September 20, 1999, 05:24 PM
Jack 99:

Good for you! I have absolutely nothing to do with Roy Harris, but I have heard from many trusted sources that he is an excellent instructor and a good integrator of several systems (mainly JKD and BJJ).

When you get a chance, why don't you ask him what he thinks about Jerry "The Most Dangerous Man Alive" Petersen and his SCARS. I really am curious about what he would say.

Mr. Wright:

I don't have to buy a computer and do extended business with "34th Street Camera/Computers" to know that it's tourist trap and a fraud. I check some references and reviews of stores and I can find out quickly.

Likewise, I did an extensive search on SCARS and talked to a number of people for the past two weeks or so and came to the conclusion.

I think that even Spartacus agrees that BJJ is extremely effective in at least one-on-one, unarmed fight. I don't recall Spartacus saying something of the sort about SCARS.

As I wrote before, if it works for you, that's fantastic and I urge you to cotinue to train in whatever system that works for you. I am merely stating that after an exhaustive research (I am BTW now trying to borrow one of Petersen's tapes), I've come to my own personal conclusions about SCARS and Petersen. That's all. Please do not interpret this as a personal attack on you (though I am still a little miffed about this "I can get out of any Gracie lock or hold" claim, which sounds very Jerry Petersen-like).

Cheers to you all,


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

Mike Spight
September 20, 1999, 05:41 PM

Sorry, you might have missed my question from a few days ago. The SCARS seems interesting...I visited the website and think I understand this much...it's a self-study program (you purchase videos and train with someone at home) and there are opportunities to receive one-on-one instruction at various seminars around the country on a fee basis.

Is that it? Is Jerry's Phoenix location the only place where SCARS is taught on a regular basis?


David Wright
September 20, 1999, 09:19 PM
Skor, no harm, no foul.

The Thai offer is legit.

If it makes any difference, I don't like the marketing either. These guys are so far away from what might be assumed from the ads, that it is like night and day. The comment I made was based in part from the other students that are well versed in BJJ. Also,the SCARS people really did go down there to study with the Gracies for awhile, but so many restrictions were put on them as to what the SCARS folks could and couldn't do against the Gracies, that most anything done would have been an unrealistic sport match. The students I worked with couldn't fully utilize what they learned from the Gracies because of the counters involved. They would want to demonstrate a particular hold, but never got the opportunity to get that far. They would want to start closer to a finishing hold, but when we ran it in real time, they never got far enough to do the finishing hold(s). Does this explaination make sense?
We have to get in a position to apply certain holds and moves in the first place. If someone uses any system that effectively won't let you get that far, then we never have a chance to use them.

Let me give a silly yet accurate example.
Let's say someone attacks me and uses the old trick of diving low at me to tackle me on the ground. I can tuck and tumble with them and throw them off(if they're inexperienced), or (and this is virtually impossible for me to describe in writing) I can go to a low position and trap them with my forearms as they dive. Even if they have grabbed me, from this position, I can choke them out, or I can crush their adam's apple, among other choices. I just like how this system can get someone to an efective level quickly. There are no shortcuts to a real skill, but we can be efficient with our moves. BJJ is very effective, but there are other options. There are a lot of good people out there that due to back injuries or other considerations, can't ever get close to your skill level. I think (and my back thinks) that SCARS makes less physical demands. Maybe I should ask Jerry to put up ads in the old folks homes. :)

Even as Jerry said many times, someone operating at a high skill level in different martial arts besides SCARS can be very dangerous and effective indeed. He's not like the ads at all.

Mike, sorry for the late post. I'm away from the PC a lot nowadays and rarely get to visit TFL anymore. Besides going to Phoenix, you can look-up training partners in your area on the SCARS page. The funny thing about this system is how far you can go with just the videos. I studied and practiced for about two years with the videos, and was apprehensive about attending the class without live partner training. Everything worked out fine at the class. I know this is contrary to everything I have seen before, but it works.

I will say this, everything they did, from pick-up and drop-off at airport, to getting fed breakfast, lunch and dinner (well!) to the facilities, overall organization, clarity of what was going on, professionalism and lack of arrogance or ego was extremely impressive. These guys really are top notch.

Get the videos, if they don't work, get your money back.

What is not on the videos but you may see at class, is when a lot of people pin Jerry or the instructors against a wall, and they get away every time. What do you say to someone that can get away from a bunch of people pinning them to a wall or floor over and over, even against skilled people. They simply know something most people don't. And, more importantly, they can teach others QUICKLY to be effective. If you can handle
a small crowd, you can probably handle getting loose from 1,2,3,4 people, right?

To see it happening is enlightening. No magic, just science as explained, and you can do it too. But still, it makes you wonder how they came up with some of this stuff.

Good Luck

Mike Spight
September 20, 1999, 10:37 PM

Thanks for the info...I appreciate it!


Byron Quick
September 21, 1999, 01:04 AM

I had never even heard of SCARS before this thread much less seen it. Of course I didn't comment on its effectiveness either pro or con.

Byron Quick

September 21, 1999, 09:51 AM
Mr. Wright:

This is getting somewhat tiresome for me. I am sure it is becoming so for you, too. However, I'll bite and break down my responses as follows:

1. "Jerry is different in real life" or "Jerry is not like in the ads."

While some may think that we ought to judge a person based on how he behaves in person, I tend to think that we should also judge a man based on what he writes, what he says and how he conducts himself in private as well as in public. In his ads, he makes outrageous and untrue claims and conducts himself like a third-rate Ninja-wanna-be fraud. So, this "he's weird in the ads, but he is really nice if you get to know him" bit doesn't really fly for me.

2. "Jerry's Counters to BJJ doesn't allow BJJ techniques to work"

I don't know how skilled those BJJ practitioners you had in your class are, but at least one BJJ blue belt showed up at Jerry's seminar and schooled pretty much all the participants during free-sparring session where one could do unpredictable things (rather than "if I do this, then you do this" training routine).

For example, what kind of idiotic BJJ fighter would just dive in for double-leg takedown? Even a "half-ass" BJJ fighter would use some punches and kicks to make the opponent back away and then try a takedown when the opponent expects another kick or punch rather than a takedown (this is really basic BJJ, by the way). Or the BJJ fighter may wait until his opponent kicks or punches first and then do a takedown. So, if you wait with your weight forward to counter the double-leg, you are going to get kicked (probably in the knee) or jabbed in the face, rather than get a takedown. After that happens, how much you wanna bet that you'll step back the next time you see that hand or foot coming? That's when a BJJ fighter will do a takedown - when you are backing away in anticipation of the punch or kick.

This demonstrates the problem in training statically with un-dynamic, pre-programmed partner. Look, I can do all kinds of Aikido moves, so long as I know what my opponent is going to do. But I have trouble making Aikido techniques work against someone who moves unpredictably as any real opponent would. But in BJJ, we train by free-sparring in which my partner may do a double-leg, a single-leg, just a clinch or may just slap me if it looks like I am ready to counter a takedown. It is dynamic and unpredictable and our techniques reflect this.

3. "Easy Counter to Double-Leg"

From your description, as a counter to the double-leg, you seem to be doing a sprawl and/or then doing a guillotine choke. Guess what? These are pretty basic "chump" counters to the wrestling double-leg that every BJJ blue belt knows. And guess what else? I know at least three counters for each (sprawl and guillotine) from BJJ. By the way, if you want to do the guillotine correctly, you should trap one of your opponent's arms (the one closest to your body) under your armpit. That makes counters to the guillotine a bit harder to pull off.

As I said before (and as someone else here said, too) BJJ is constantly evolving. BJJ techniques from ten years ago is old, old, old. Heck, many top-level BJJ competitors consider last years techniques to be obsolete. Constant NHB and sports competitions have refined old techniques that work and created new techniques and counters that actually work in dynamic, unpredictable environments.

I might add that this is why Kodokan Judo became so popular in Japan originally (at the turn of the century) - because it cleaned house with other classical Jiu-Jitsu fighters. The latter would train statically (you do this, I do this), because their techniques were unsafe to practice dynamically.

Kano Jigoro removed many unsafe techniques and and then made his fighters train constantly in free-sparring sessions, thus simplifying and concentrating on techniques that worked in actual, fight-like conditions. So, when the time came for Kano's fighters to fight in very realistic contests with other classical Jujutsu fighters, they became undefeated.

Then they came upon a Ryu of Jujutsu that practiced grappling and were defeated handily. Guess what Kodokan did? It added grappling techniques to its curriculum in the form of Ne-Waza (ground techniques). Since then Kodokan Judo reigned supreme in Japan until it turned into an Olympic sport, rather than a combative art.

But that's another story.

4. "SCARS is less physically demanding"

That may very well be true. But, I find that BJJ is not physically demanding at all, because it utilizes leverage and technique, rather than strength and speed.

My wife (all of 5'4" and 110lbs. that she is) has been training in BJJ/Vale Tudo for about one year and can out fight a Tae Kwon Do competitor (over five years of training) of 6' and 180lbs. E-A-S-Y!

It has been my experience that striking arts generally require much more physical conditioning than grappling arts like Aikido, Judo, Sambo or BJJ.

By the way, I meant to ask earlier, but what kind of martial arts training did you have before SCARS?


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

[This message has been edited by Skorzeny (edited September 21, 1999).]

September 21, 1999, 03:38 PM
I have to ask a question here. I do not mean to offend anyone, but you all keep talking about fights against multiple attackers. I'm 36 and lived a fairly rough life, I have only ever been in one fight against multiple attackers. You all are traing for a circumstance that if it is a real threat in your life, maybe you should change your life style. I recently started training in Hapkido, and feel that in 99% of most situations I was ever in, it would have worked well. If some one knows more than you, it does not matter the art or the style, you are going to be hurting when it's all over.

Again no offense is meant by this.

September 25, 1999, 12:57 PM
I have stated for years that I would prefer to bring their head to my foot than vise-versa. I think most high kicks should not be attempted. I also think that kicking range is a lot closer than many believe. I think folks who kick in fights often take a beating. That said, there can be a place for it, and I know several folks who could use their feet on your face with impunity- but I do not think they would open a fight in this manner.

Though I thought it kinda off-topic, I distrust hyperbole. There really are better arts, but there is no substitute for dirt time and hard work. (Read this suchly: SCARS and SAFTA will never get my money.) I have seen the critiques of several bugeisha I respect regarding SCARS. They found it laughable- not useless, perhaps, but there were no "secrets". From what was said, it was information that any decent ninpo taijutsu practitioner knows- basic. FWIW, it's ridiculous to expect everyone to react identically to stimuli. I know people who would give no immediate reaction to breakage of most of the smaller bones

I train, among other reasons, to handle difficult and dangerous situations. It only makes sense to train to handle really bad situations. Keeping one's feet seems like common sense; how else can I run? It seems to make sense to know how to use the ground, but foolish to prefer it. In self-defense, distance is our friend. Keep as much of it as possible between you and the threat.

Spartacus is a good friend, and not, perhaps, intrinsically dangerous to associate with. :)

[This message has been edited by Spectre (edited September 25, 1999).]

Chuck Ames
September 28, 1999, 08:54 AM

There are obviously some strong opinions out there, so I'll just add my two cents worth.

Not that I'm the most experienced guy around, but I think we often forget that a fight is a dirty nasty affair with biting, gouging, knees, and elbows. People often tout the supreriority of their "system", but in the end all we end up with is hype.

2nd Ranger Battalion at Fort Lewis, WA contracted Royce Gracie and his brother in 1996 to do a two week hand to hand course. Why? Because it's the best fighting system or because somebody was watching the UFC? For months after that, we saw the Rangers always practising the "mount" and other ground fighting techniques. Think about it. If someone in a CQB environment is on the ground something has gone horribly wrong, and while it may be necessary to train for that, you hopefully have backup during a 4-man room entry. Because the Gracie's won the UFC everybody focuses on ground fighting. One of the other contributors mentioned that BJJ has hand to hand techniques to use before taking someone down, but if I can beat you there, the rest doesn't matter. My opinion is that whatever system is used, it should be hard, fast, and violent, easily learned and easily remembered. My criticism of the universal acceptance of the UFC as the "fighting lab" is that all the best moves are rightly forbidden. By that I mean Eyes, throat, knees, etc. As private citizens our right to self defense ends when the subject is disabled. In other words, if I apply a wonderful choke hold, and in the altercation crush his windpipe or otherwise permanently injure or kill him, I'm open to a lawsuit at best and manslaughter charges at worst. Why, because by the time I got the choke hold on, he is probably subdued.

I understand that a throat strike is potentially lethal, but if it is employed during the fight, not at the end of the fight, it is more justifiable. Hopefully, if any of us is fighting it's because we fear death or serious bodily injury, and not because:
a. Someone offended us
b. we've got something to prove.
There is no telling what the body is capable of. On the one hand it can take an enormous amount of punishment, and on the other, it's terribly fragile. So if you decide to mix it up, it damn well better be worth it, and that means anything goes.

Simple, direct, and violent.
With power comes responsibility.