Tony Blauer’s Tactical Combative Camp: Five Important Themes For Women
I recently attended the annual two day Tony Blauer “Tactical Combative Camp” at CrossFit Rubicon in Tysons Corner, VA. At first glance, any normal. suburban woman would walk into that gym and see the crowd gathered for the camp, and walk right out.
Picture it: A dark, window-less rectangular shaped gym. Walls painted with slogans of strength and toughness. 130 men gathered – many from military/law enforcement backgrounds, filling the room. I can see how it could be intimidating and too testosterone rich of an environment for your average, everyday girl. In fact, there were maybe 20 women in attendance total, with only a handful of them outside of the MMA or Military world.
After two days of learning and practicing drills, it became very clear to me that the themes discussed over the weekend have practical applications that extend way beyond any sort of combat or personal defense scenario. They are not masculine themes that only apply to a small percentage of women. They are important themes for everyone about living your best life…
“Failure Expected Action Required”
1. You Have Permission to Do Something!
How many times in our lives do we miss out on an opportunity because we don’t give ourselves permission to take action? Or to delve even further, we don’t believe we can go after that job opportunity, or pursue a romantic interest or that we are capable of fighting off an attack because as woman, we are programmed to be full of self-doubt and lack confidence in what we are capable of doing. You know what I am talking about –it’s that un-filtered inner voice that reminds us of our short comings and second guesses our skills, talents and decisions.
What if you said Screw the Rules? You make the decision to accept the fear that comes with doing something new and unchartered and go for it. You give yourself permission to go after that job, ask that guy out, or prepare to kick the shit out of any ‘bad guy’ that tries to cause you harm? What’s the worst that can happen? Generally speaking, the worst thing that can happen isn’t usually the worst thing that can happen ever in your life. That’s not to say that some pretty bad things do happen even when you do fight back. But if you are aware of what you are capable of doing and give yourself the permission to fight back, you can certainly lessen the chances of that coming to fruition.
“You’re not going to wake up tomorrow as Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you don’t need to be.”
2. You Are Who You Are
We all have that list of things we wish we could change about ourselves. I wish I was taller, my stomach was flatter, and my boobs were bigger…my list is really long. And yes, I can change some of the things with surgery, diet and exercise. But the point is– you have to accept the hand you were dealt. I will never be 5’11, model thin. It’s not physically possible. I can whine about it all I want, but the reality is I will not wake up tomorrow looking like Claudia Schiffer. Not going to happen – and the sooner I accept that reality and figure out how to work with it, the better off I will be.
If I ever get attacked, chances are the bad guy will be taller than my 5’3 frame. At face value, it’s easy to assume that I will be overpowered and taken down during said attack. So what should I do – accept it and just pray that I won’t ever be attacked?
At my age I won’t be growing any taller, so I need to figure out how to use what I can to fight off a guy of any size. Is there a guarantee of success? No, but if I don’t prepare for it, it’s like asking for a 100% guarantee of failure.
Outside of an attack scenario, there are so many ways to apply this theme to everyday living and the choices we make. You have to make the most out of what you are given and figure out how to use it to your advantage. And, don’t let your hang-ups define who you are.
“The pursuit of technique and/or perfection can get in the way of action”
3. You Don’t Have To Be Perfect.
Have you ever gotten so wrapped up in making everything perfect you miss out on the very thing you wanted to enjoy? Was it a dinner party, a vacation, or perhaps a workout?
During the camp, we practiced a lot of drills. I found myself getting flustered and putting myself down when I wasn’t getting some of the attack strategies. One of the coaches pulled me aside and said, “Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect – you just need to hit the target and you did that. You got it done and that’s what counts. “
I needed to hear that. The truth is if I am attacked and need to fight back, the only thing that will matter is that I DO fight back and get out of there. It won’t matter if it looks like Elaine’s dancing from Seinfeld if it works!
There is a time when being perfect counts, but there are many more times when getting it done is all that matters.
“You never know how much you can do, until you try to do more than you can.”
4. You Need To Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
The concept of being comfortable with being uncomfortable was discussed throughout the weekend. It reminded me of a recent blog post one of my coaches/friends wrote about this very topic:
“Human beings normally choose the path most traveled; the one that’s easiest. Our decisions play a huge role in whether we resist or embrace life when it is uncomfortable. Do we view them as a chance to tackle and conquer, trusting that we will become better people in the process, or do we see them as something to avoid?”
Can you see how always seeking out your comfort zone can prevent you from being prepared to take on whatever comes your way? Tony and his staff stressed that putting ourselves in situations that throw you off balance is key. The ability to take action and get tactical when you are not comfortable will put you in a vantage point no matter the situation. It’s a skill the majority of people out there do not possess.
“DO more, KNOW more, THINK more, HAVE more and WANT more than your opponent.”
5. You Feel Like A Bad-Ass
I’m not a fighter. I have never seen a MMA fight in person or watched any sort of UFC match. And before this workshop, I would never have believed that I would enjoy practicing defense drills. I loved it. Practicing head lock escapes, using SPEAR techniques, throwing elbows and administering knee strikes gave me a sense of strength and empowerment that I have not felt before. I may not have looked like one, but I certainly felt like a bad-ass! Now I feel like starting a pseudo fight club – where we practice fighting drills, not actually fight!
“Live life like You are a Trojan horse — with a warrior inside.”
6. Bonus Theme
Remember how I mentioned that there were 130 men at the camp? I’m not going to lie and say being able to hang with and in some cases, wrestle some strong, fit handsome men wasn’t fun, including a few elite world-class athletes. There is definitely something to be said about learning from a group of men who define the word masculine. What exactly there is to be said – I will leave to your imagination.
I promise you that if you really focus on mastering these themes, you can live your life like as if you are a Trojan Horse, with an empowered, strong warrior inside prepared to take on any adversary.
I wish more women would seek out and attend workshops like these. There was so much more discussed than what I have shared here. And all of it can be applied to so many aspects of life. Tony’s teachings are definitely not for men only. Start being comfortable with being uncomfortable by signing up for one of his Personal Defense Readiness courses as soon as you can!
*Disclaimer: I received free registration for Tony Blauer’s Combative camp so that I could share my thoughts and perspective on his program. My thoughts & opinions are unbiased & honest as always.