Daniel: Daniel Lehr with Caffeine and Kilos here, and we're with Tony Blauer. Tony, you actually just invited us down, wanted to come down, hang out. We appreciate what you've done for us. We're out the Be Your Own Bodyguard seminar, through CrossFit.
Daniel: You've done seminars, you've been teaching seminars, or in some capacity, for 37 years.
Daniel: My question is what did you do before that?
Tony: Thirty-seven years. I'm 57, so I was 20. I'd just got out of school.
Tony: I was working for my dad. Really, how the company really started was I was working out at my dad's factory, and I was supposed to be unpacking shit, but there would always be boxes there, and I'd be shadow boxing and hitting them. One of my dad's clients, his 15-year-old son was having a bully issue at school.
Tony: He sees me kicking and punching, and he says, "Hey, I need you to teach Mitchy how to defend himself. He's having a problem at school." I was like, okay, sure. I'll help out. He said, "I want you to take it seriously. I want to pay you." I was getting $4 an hour. It was 1980. I said, "I can't take your money. You're good friends with my dad. I'll do it as a favor." He says, "No, I'm paying you. I want you to take it seriously. I'm gonna pay you $20." I'm good at math; I quickly go, "That's five lessons."
Tony: He goes, "I'll pay you $20 an hour per lesson." I'm like holy shit. Literally, I started teaching this kid... At the time, I was boxing, TaeKwonDo, wrestling. This is 1980 ... The first UFC was 1993. Thirteen years before the first UFC, I was blending shit. I was inspired by Bruce Lee. Mixed martial art, blending and shit, we didn't call it that, but that's what we did.
He lived in a pretty nice neighborhood, and when I started training him, his brother said, "How come I can't take lessons?" Then I got lessons with his brother. Then the kid across the street and his brother ... Literally, within a month, I had 20 ... I was only 20, and these kids are all 16 and 17, so the age and size wasn't that different. They were like guinea pigs with me, and we just literally beat the shit out of each other for years, experimenting with shit. That's really the impetus and the genesis of the system.
Daniel: It's interesting, and then there's the whole other side that must come through some research and stuff, but the whole psychology aspect of it. The ATM videos, maybe your most popular one, I don't know. It's great where you're at an ATM and then you actually ... it's avoiding the confrontation.
Tony: I always [inaudible 00:02:37] violence, and I'm not a knuckle-dragger, I'm not cavalier about violence. Violence is horrible, and everybody should always ... We use the term choose safety. That you can choose safety from the situational awareness phase, that you can choose safety in the verbal deescalation, and then, in self-defense, to not stand and go, "You wanna fight, man?" And kind of have that douche bag moment. If you were confronting me, you're a big guy, and I was like there's my escape route, my movement would be I'm talking to you, I'm here like this. Boom, I'd smash you in the face with a bottle and fucking run, right? Before anybody watching this gets an idea like I'll do that, force must always parallel danger. That would be a very serious, dangerous thing, if you're going to smash a bottle-
Daniel: Not if I ask you for a light, but if I can over and start [crosstalk 00:03:30]
Tony: It's just something where, like, I see you reaching for a knife or a gun, or maybe you had a knife and I give you my wallet, and I'm like this, and I go ... I smash you in the face, and I run. That movement isn't part of some martial art conduct, right? We're always about this [inaudible 00:03:47] To make all of that make sense, we had to really delve into the psychology of fear, the psychology of performance and mindset. I can show you anything you want, anything cool, but if fear gets in the way, it's not gonna happen. So our biggest thing when we're working with athletes or we're working with fighters is this mindset of fear, how do you manage fear.
Daniel: You've worked with people all over the world. You've worked with different organizations. I know you personally, so I know some stuff you have going on there. If you had to pick one thing that you think you're most proud of, that you've done. What's one thing in life that you think you're most proud of, either professionally, personally, kinda whatever you wanna ... whatever comes to mind.
Tony: That didn't sound good.
Daniel: No, someone just [inaudible 00:04:32] Bunch of tables, they're all right. No-one's trapped under there.
Tony: The thing I'm most proud of in business or in life?
Daniel: Just either. It's up to you. What comes to mind?
Tony: My commitment to my family. Dude, I've had some horrific things happen in business, in violence, and things that I know could've derailed me as a dad, as a businessman, and just to come back from some of that shit ... way tougher than any street altercation I've been in. Just shit where you go ... It's this tattoo, man. "You're the hero in your story." The original tattoo was "Be the hero in your story," and I thought that was selfish, because that's about me. I didn't get where I am without my wife, without my kids, without my kids saying dad, I need you to be strong now. Even though they never said that, they look at you, going ... My biggest thing is just being there, being a good person, my integrity, and being there for my family.
Daniel: That's fantastic. And last thing is one piece of advice, and someone just says, hey ... You don't know their background. They say what's one thing I can do to be my own bodyguard? What's one thing, you don't have a lot of time, a quick answer, something you can do to help out anybody.
Tony: The easiest thing to tell people is just our little motto, we say choose safety. Always choose safety. Don't let ego or pride dictate your next strategy. You get a bad feeling ... Every victim of violence whoever lives to tell the tale say they had a bad feeling before, which means your body is this intuitive radar that picks up danger. It could be a business deal, it could be a date, it could be turning down a road, opening the door to your house. You get a bad feeling, just turn around. If you're wrong and nothing was happening, you're just late. It doesn't matter. But if you ignore that fear spike, and it turns out to be something, that could cost you everything. The easiest thing, the fastest, the most important thing I tell people ... If you look at all confrontations go through, typically, three stages. D1, D2, D3. Detect and avoid, defuse and deescalate, defend is the last. Most people always just practice the physical.
Daniel: The defend part.
Tony: Yeah, so you practice getting out of a headlock, not how to avoid somebody who might try to put you in a headlock.
Daniel: You know what's better than getting out of a headlock? Not getting into one.
Tony: Right, and that's the whole point. Just trusting that vibe and moving away. For me to practice getting out of a headlock, I've got to let you put a headlock on me, right? But If I'm standing here and you move towards me ... if I just let my body's natural response to danger push you away ... Take care, bro ... then you're good. Really simple stuff. The whole thing with Be Your Own Bodyguard is really about making good people safer. Some people confuse this ... They go you can't learn self-defense in a day. Yes, you can. If you can learn CPR in four, five hours, you can learn self-defense. What you can't learn, and this is the unconscious bias, it's what people confuse this with, is they confuse this with learning a martial art in a day. You can't learn jujitsu in a day, you can't learn boxing in a day, you can't learn [inaudible 00:07:37]. What you have is people who are studying that stuff look at this and someone says I am going to this one-day course.
For example, you just did the course. If you were going to set up a fight between you at 9:00 a.m. and you right now, who would you bet on?
Daniel: Myself now.
Tony: Right, so who knows more about situational awareness? You this morning or you right now?
Daniel: Now absolutely.
Tony: Fear management?
Daniel: Right, yeah.
Tony: What about closest weapon, closest target?
Tony: What about core extremity, how to weaponize the flinch. You're more dangerous after a one-day course. You have a better idea of how to manage fear in the street, and that'll make you safer so you can continue to grow your family and grow your business. That's all this is about.
Daniel: Awesome. Thank you so much.
Daniel: Appreciate it.
Tony: Thank you, man.
Daniel: Thanks for everything.
Tony: Thank you guys for everything you do for me and the family, and all my kids steal your shit. I come home and go where's my Caffeine and Kilos stuff? The box is open, my kids got it all.
Tony: Love it.