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The Three D’s

By On April 23, 2009 · 5 Comments · In Articles

torresOne of the most important concepts Coach Blauer developed for the S.P.E.A.R. System is the three D’s (Detect, Defuse, and Defend). Like many concepts in the system, on the surface, it is simple to grasp. However as our coaching experience grows, we find deeper meaning and ways to make the message more powerful for our students.

Many years ago, while studying this concept, I had an experience which gave me a stronger personal grasp of the three D’s. I now share this experience with every class I teach in hopes to pass on the power of my discovery.

When I first learned the concept, I immediately had a grasp for the basic message; in order to successfully deal with danger, we must first Detect it then try to Defuse it, and finally, Defend ourselves from it.

The deepening of my understanding came when, since English is my second language, I hit the dictionaries to find the meaning of the words.

Let’s start with Detect. How do we find the danger?

Coach Blauer always says that as police officers and soldiers we are always looking for dangerous people in dangerous places, hence we are always in danger. So it seems that it would be simple to detect it. It is, but we can do better.

torres2When I ask students in class the meaning of the word detect, most people respond with words like find or discover. These are somewhat passive words that imply we somehow stumble onto the danger or that somehow it finds us. Although sometimes this is the case, I believe that we can improve our odds. The word detect is defined in the dictionary as follows: To bring into awareness.

This is a more active definition and its implication is that we are purposefully looking for danger. When finding danger becomes a willful act we are more likely to see it sooner and be more tactical in out responses; our ability to defuse and defend is improved.

This is a normal function of the brain. Just like when we decide that we like a certain car model we suddenly see it in almost every street; when we decide to look for danger on purpose we almost always see it first.

Next we must Defuse. Again here most students define this as preventing the danger. Although there are situations we can avoid or prevent, the real power of this word comes from its true meaning which is: to make something less dangerous. Remember we already detected the danger so it’s already there, and as police officers and soldiers we can’t avoid it, so we must make the situation less dangerous. It’s like defusing a bomb, the explosives are still there but the likelihood of an explosion is smaller because the trigger is no longer part of the mechanism. Through intelligent tactics and choice speech we can make something less dangerous but we must not drop our guard because the danger is still present.

torres3Finally, we must Defend ourselves from the danger. Finding the meaning of this word was very challenging. When I first looked it up I found it said: to protect. Ok so then I looked protect and it said: to defend. I also found in class that this is the way most people define the word. I then started consulting other dictionaries and went back and forth finding the same definitions. After a few more aggravated tries I found one that defined defend as: to take action to protect. Well, at least that was something. We are taking action. Defense was no longer the same passive, subservient word when compared to offense.

But protect was still a mystery until finally I found that the origin of the word protect is the Latin word protegere which means to cover from the front. This was perhaps one of the most powerful discoveries I had made. In essence Defend means: to take action to cover from the front. This implies that once we decide we must do something about danger we need to move towards it. This parallels our moral and tactical imperative as we protect our citizens and our country, not to mention ourselves, from those who seek to do us harm.

Coach Blauer is known for saying that the clarity with which we define something will determine the experience. Bringing clarity to the Three D’s helped me on the street and in the field and it also enhanced the survivability of my team mates and students. I hope it does the same for you.

Copyright ©This material, including terminology, and concepts are the intellectual property of Tony Blauer and Blauer Tactical Systems, USA LLC.


5 Responses to The Three D’s

  1. Mike Brown says:

    Awesome, Tony T. This will help me explain to my guys the integrity of the concept is more profound than a cool t-shirt graphic.

  2. […] Three D’s More self-defense acronyms: Detect, Defuse, Defend. From Tony Blauer, well, actually from Tony […]

  3. Jose Medina says:

    Hey Tony Torres, Jose Medina from New Jersey here. Great article and put into some good perspectives. Looking at recent crimes committed against police officers such as Oakland California and recently Pittsburgh, I have talked to some officers from those regions as well as from other critical incidents. Many of those principals you give are on the money. I feel to add to that list, there is much PRESUMED COMPLIANCE going on out here. It is getting worse. Teaching at a state recognized police academy for over 14 years, I seen some decline in the strong passion for officers entering the field and more taking the job for the pensions and benefits. Of course a no brainer for many, but overall the whole concept of PROTECT and SERVE is slowly becoming an afterthought. Quite frankly the PRESUMED COMPLIANCE (a famous Blauer Tactical Systems term I have not forgotten in training) is ringing louder than ever. Perhaps bringing that term into that mix and relaying that when an officer goes to a home of a family dispute for example, and it is a known person who the officer consistently deal with, the next call becomes the PRESUMED COMPLIANCE call as we would never think some common person who we have dealt with in the past would suddenly come out and ambush the officers with an assault rifle. Due to the hard economic times, I advise every cop, “every job you go on, every call, every stop, treat it like that doberman pincher who has the ears pinned back, eyes, blood red, and ready to attack at a split second. But the person will not see that face and in reality they will assume your game is off but in reality you are ready and smiling. When the call is done, and you are in your car, the ears can loosen up, the eyes, go back to normal, but the AWARENESS as you stated is ALWAYS HIGH. If the person reacts, you will see it coming most of the time.” Good to see you put some “make sense” stuff out there. We sure do need more of this. I will pass your article on to some of our students. Thanks again for supporting our cause.

    Jose Medina

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