SCARS Personal Testimony

I thought this was pretty good review.

Know them by their fruits
First post on E-budo. Love this discussion Board!

SEAL’s: Say you trained, trained with, or saw a SEAL training and you have instant credibility in many minds. Good marketing plan!

I understand that the Naval Special Warfare community has placed as much distance as possible between themselves and Mr. Peterson. He is not the first, nor will he be the last.

One only needs to read the bombastic ads associated with the group to arrive at a logical conclusion. I understand the need for advertising, but…

I have had some contact with SCARS and SAFTA as a member of the Naval Special Warfare Community. I was active-duty at SEAL Team One and spent quite a few years as a reservist on the West Coast. Honor Graduate of BUD/s class #105 for those of you who will be checking.

I am a trainer and director of the Sure-Fire Institute that works with law-enforcement and military clients. See for more data. Anyway, I am not an operator anymore, so I humbly approach this topic.

From the law-enforcement point of view, SCARS has to be out for most. Just the name alone has to be a juicy target for some civil rights attorney. Very little ability to regulate force, an in my mind this is a critical short-coming with dealing with John Q. Public and his brother standing there with a video camera.

Most military units don’t place a lot of emphasis on combatives as they have belt-fed machineguns and things that go boom. But in today’s low-intensity conflict scenarios, Close Quarter Combat is a valid concern and some units spend the time developing “systems” that meet mission requirements. We just finished a course with a U.S Army Special Forces Group and combatives was one of the training blocks. They are still open and willing to adopt principles and techniques germane to their mission. This is in stark contrast to an almost cult-like following found in some SCARS advocates. Keep in mind we are not talking about street fighting with “Tank” Abbott. These guys will find themselves in situations where they are wearing a lot of gear, helmets, body armor, low-light conditions, uneven terrain, projectile based threats and many other environmental factors.

I first came in contact with SCARS as a reservist when it was the “buzz” around the community. I met a few guys who had taken the SCARS course(s) when they were first being presented. For the most part the graduating students seemed to believe that what they had learned was undefeatable. IMHO a dangerous mental position. It is great to have a powerful, decisive, positive mental attitude, but please temper it with reality. As one looks around at any physical/mental activity that men attempt to conquer, 40 hours just doesn’t cut it… I can defend myself against most after years of training. But the reality is there are many, many who can defeat me in H2H combat, plain and simple. I train and hope I don’t run into them in a lethal force confrontation. Odds are I won’t and for that I am grateful.

While working for the Federal Government as a program director for Shipboard Security, I ran into a proponent of SAFTA who was telling me that ALL people ALWAYS react in certain ways to certain stimulus, a pillar of his system, as I understand it. He then attempted to physically demonstrate the principle by shoving me as hard as he could in the chest while at the same time stating that I would put a foot back. As he shoved, I executed a basic sword turn found in the Yanagi ryu curriculum. It is one the first things you need to understand and apply to successfully evade sword strikes and facilitate dropping people to the ground. My feet were still in place, and he as completely off-balance, ripe for a counter. I was and still consider myself a novice in Aiki JuJutsu. So went the theory that ALL and ALWAYS can be found in close quarter engagements.

With a puzzled look on his face, he asked what I did and I tried to explain that it comes from a system that has its foundation in edged weapon conflict. The individual quickly interrupted and stated that “knives are !!!!!!!! to us, we treat them as hands attached to the arm”…A truly scientific analysis. When he finished his monologue, I felt humbled as I had met Jesus Christ Incarnate prior to his Second Coming. This individual can also be found in similar ads of the SCARS variety.

I have posted on:…ML/000213.html as to the effectiveness of Yanagi ryu strategy and techniques when employed by a skillful practitioner with a bit more than 40 hours of training.

To be perfectly honest, I am not sure what the relationship of SCAR/SAFTA is but there are striking similarities in its advocates.

The good news maybe that SCARS, SAFTA and similar systems might be well-suited for inculcating an aggressive mind-set and never die attitude to young lads in compressed timeframes. Trainees leave with a high level of confidence and basic plan of attack. Most plans are better than none.

On the other hand, instilling a sense of invincibility can lead to foolhardiness. I selected Naval Special Warfare as a community because of the strategies and missions, and left attacking machine-guns on fortified hills to the immortals. It was a longer more difficult road, but worth it.

The more difficult weapons based arts involve traveling down a similar road. Outcomes of weapons-based, multiple adversary fights from my viewpoint favor those with the greater sense of balance, sensitivity and awareness over one-dimensional aggressiveness. I have observed over the years that those with an overly aggressive/ballistic mind-sets tend not to fair well in projectile-based training/operational situations. Bullets doesn’t really care what is on your chest; SWAT, SEAL, SPEC this or that. They just fly and comply to the immutable laws of physics. It is much better to blend and outthink your opponent, adopting the effective strategies of the Aiki principles. Allow or cause your opponent to overextend in mind and body, and then cut them down with your weapon.

I have quite a few e-mails from folks that I have trained attesting to this. I would like to think that the approach we are presenting actually saves lives and puts bad guys away. As effective as our training is, it could never approach the 100 percentile. You can only increase your odds of prevailing in a lethal-force environment. The rest is what I term “the Grace of God Factor”. Face it, no matter how invincible you may believe you are, you will more likely than not need the benefit and immediate support of others when multiple opponents have weapons than can kill from a distance. It is not about you anymore, it is about us. SCARS seems to be “I” centered from this vantage point.

In closing, (finally!) I have met a few of the SCARS instructors at some of the SPEC OPS trade shows I have attended. They were always extremely helpful and friendly, the same could not be said for Mr. Peterson himself.

I would like to have the opportunity to discuss the merits of this or that technique, principle and training methodology in an intelligent manner with him personally.

I would love to change my opinion of the SCARS approach as it resides in the negative.


Ken J. Good

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