SEALS, S.W.A.T. and Self Defense - The truth about training

SEALS, S.W.A.T. and Self Defense

SEALS, S.W.A.T. and Self Defense

What does a heavily armed operator with a mission objective, equipped with intelligence, superior numbers and technology have to do with you being stalked when you’re alone, walking to your car in an empty parking lot…?


Yet every expert (myself included) love to crow about teaching SEAL team 12 or Super Secret Death Squads.

That’s those who don’t know the truth are impressed, but the fact is….

 “The Tactical Training the Police and Military Receive has NOTHING to do with Your Personal Self Defense.” 

A heavily armed soldier or police officer on a team, responding to a call or deployed on a mission who’s armed to the teeth, expecting conflict from an known enemy have absolutely ZERO to do with your being approached by a potential threat with unknown intentions and capabilities.
  • A soldier’s mission is to KILL the ENEMY, DESTROY EQUIPMENT and COLLECT INTELLIGENCE. They accomplish this through superior technology and overwhelming force through firepower and numbers.
  • A cop’s mission is to serve and protect, NOT to survive at all cost. They accomplish this through superior technology and overwhelming force through firepower and numbers.
  • You’re mission is to SURVIVE and PROTECT your loved ones by whatever means possible against an unknown number of enemies at any given time. You accomplish this by channeling your WILL TO SURVIVE and NATURAL INSTINCT through training and education that takes advantage of that behavior.

I know what you’re thinking… rogue, lone wolf cop, Jason Bourne-type, on the mean streets, behind enemy lines – pissing in the face of danger and single handedly taking a part a biker gang or a terrorist cell by himself. I like the movies too – but…

…officers and soldiers put their lives on the line every day…BUT THEY’RE NOT GOING TO BE STUPID ABOUT IT.

The plan for contingencies and have the ability to adapt to changing situations – this is what makes them successful.

As a soldier you deploy on a mission and you are EXPECTING conflict. You have an objective and an idea of what to expect based on the intelligence collected.  Then you use technology ( like drones and night vision) and arm yourself with more weapons and more people than you anticipate contacting.

Even SEALS and other special forces we so love to claim train in our systems, don’t have an OFFICIAL  hand to hand “system” per se because it’s just not part of their mission tactics like it was in WW2 and Vietnam.

Now I will say that some use combat sports like MMA, wrestling and boxing to test themselves, compete,  or blow off steam to soften the edge while in theater waiting to deploy –  but once they’re geared up with 70 pound plus of ballistic plates, ammo, weaponry and communications – well they’re not just not that nimble anymore.

Now I said they don’t have an official hand to hand system but that DOES NOT MEAN they don’t know how to fight . These guys are such BAD ASSES, with such a strong will to survive, compete and win that they will do WHATEVER IT TAKES AS FAST AS POSSIBLE (which is the REAL secret to self defense).

They can go from 0 to 100 in a blink of an eye – that’s what makes them SO DANGEROUS.

They’re going to take a rock and bash your head in with it…or your bash your head off the rock – WHATEVER IT TAKES to get the job done.

Law enforcement officers have a similar advantage. 

Like soldiers deploying on a mission, while responding to a call, they’re doing their size up – determining the level of threat based on the information coming from dispatch and preparing to meet that threat.

When they arrive on scene they are constantly evaluating RISK vs. REWARD and life hazard.

And believe me when I say this – if a call comes over the radio and there’s a potential use of force situation – YOU CAN BET DOLLARS TO DONUTS (no offense) that EVERYONE and their mother is going to respond to that call.

Funny, we teach an arresting and cuffing procedure that involves a MINIMUM of 4 officers (you can see it on Protector).  That’s a 4-1 ratio of good guys to bad guys…but that’s not what really happens. 

I actually have video of this working in the field – but this is an anomaly.

In reality, all of the cuffing training goes out the window because and it becomes a bum rush of bodies trying to get a hand on the subject….if they haven’t tasered or pepper sprayed him yet. 

Bottom line, police officers will not stand by and watch a brother or sister struggle or put their life at risk and NOT HELP.

We make this self defense assumption when we hear “cop” or “military”  because we associate them putting their lives on the line with YOU putting your life on the line in self defense. What better validation than someone who’s been in harms way, right?

Unfortunately, as you just discovered, a police officer and solider will rarely, if ever find themselves in a hand to hand – one on one situation. If they do, they’ve made a mistake and a lot has gone wrong.

The police and military who want to address these situations contact guys like me for training. It’s not that mysterious, it’s either through someone I know, or contact us through the website. Then they either come to me or I come to them…not that complicated.

Responding to a call, expecting trouble is 180 degrees different from you commuting to work thinking about all of the stuff you need to get done.

You’re not in a COMBAT MINDSET and you need to training that takes this into consideration and teaches you how to FLIP THE SWITCH in an instant.

You’re not going to have time to ready yourself. Responding to a call gives you the time to control your adrenaline rush, manage your breathing and acclimate yourself – YOU DON’T HAVE THIS LUXURY.

You will be ALONE, OUT NUMBERED, facing a larger and stronger threat and any given time.

The odds will not be stacked in your favor.

Truth be told, cops and soldiers off duty experience the SAME thing you do.

You need to take these factors into consideration in your self defense education.

Until next time….

Train Honestly,



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Published by Damian (Instructor)

Founder, The Self Defense Company

Join the Conversation


  1. I agree, as an ex soldier. (Infantry) with 30 years experience, you hit the spot. Military and Police do little in the way of self defence training, we touch on it, but it was never our focus .

    Bob C

  2. Good for you for calling it like is is. Ex Infantry,Vietnam, once you have the skill you mentioned going 0-100 you never loose it, one of the best assets in a street situation. Once you can,Maccstick to the basics no time for fancy dojo stuff.

  3. Exactly right. I’m a Marine veteran with SOF experience, and my son is a Marine Infantryman. I also teach self-defense techniques, although it isn’t my primary business. Nevertheless, almost all of my local competition claims to have trained SOF operators while conveniently omitting the above facts. Of course they do this to promote themselves to the ignorant. Those of us with real military experience immediately recognize them as fraudulent wannabes who have never done anything. I’m slowly educating people, one student at a time. Articles like this are excellent and I don’t hesitate to share them with my students. However, respectfully, this one needs serious editing. A little more attention to detail will significantly increase the effectiveness of your articles. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Kevin – much appreciated, but I have to ask, what’s with the comment about the editing at the end, you just can’t give a compliment?

  4. The constructive suggestion should in no way detract from the compliment. Everyone can improve, especially me. I’m just trying to ensure that others are as impressed with your work as I have been.

    1. I appreciate that – I do…but “serious editing” seems a little… a little over the top don’t you think?

      Plus posting it in a public forum might come off the wrong way.

      Instead of condemning the article with a blanket statement – maybe I would be more specific as to the issues, that’s what I would call constructive criticism.

      Plus, putting it out there in a public forum might come off the wrong way…

      If I were to correct someone…I would maybe make it a little more personal by sending a private note…like hitting CONTACT US and give a specific suggestions regarding the edits.

      That’s just me.

  5. Great article, Sir. Convulsive, reflexive, flip of the switch! That is the beauty of the system. Thanks for the article.

  6. This article is so right on the mark. I spent 22 years in the Air Force and in two wars. Persian Gulf and Bosnia. My last two years before retirement I was a First Sgt in a Security Force Squadron which consisted of law enforcement/ security. They trained exactly like you said.
    As always Mr Ross you hit the nail on the head. Or I should say the bad guy on the head.

  7. I’m impressed by your articles and would like to teach these self defense skills as part of my “Get out Alive” survival courses. I was a SARC with Marine Recon and with NSWC. I went through the Duane Dieter courses in CQB and CQC and hooded drills..and you are absolutely right. The SOC community doesn’t have a per say designated course in h2h anymore. It’s alot of MMA and techniques used and refined in theatre. The NSWC has went thru alot of programs like Frank Cucci and Duane Dieter thru the yrs. I feel like the training we did go thru was meant for combat situations..but in the street..its either too extreme to the pt of being criminal in every day use and like you said rucking all the gear down range …yeah, you have 1st and 2nd lines of defense..h2h isn’t that big of a deal..its not like the movies..if you end up with both of your lines of defense gone and no team mates as well, …boy, you just are in a world of hurt. ..and majorly screwed up somewhere..thats rare in the teams and other Spec ops.. so, whether you are an operator or not, you can still have the deck stack against you in a self defense situation..because really, it’s just not that important because you have your m4 and your sig, your dive knife and folder..just a ton of gear and like you said, nimbility goes right out the window. When I’m instructing on active shooter situations..compared to a Police instruction..they are in full gear and no where near have the ability and agility to get out in a hurry like an ordinary Joe not loaded to the teeth has. So, we all need a proven system that doesn’t have you memorizing a hundred kata that you really don’t use any way when the shtf so to speak. So, I’m looking At this system and it seems like I found what I need. So, Thank you. You really have hit the nail on the head with everything you said. Looking forward to a course unlike the hundreds out there that say they taught SEALs..thats usually a dead give away that they havent..

  8. I’d like to start by saying Thank you to everyone that has posted and has or is serving our Great country!

    As a prior law enforcement officer this couldn’t be truer. Thank you for putting all of this into words. Excellent article once again!

  9. Hi Damian,
    Another very well written article and i agree with all your comments…..i served as a UK Police Constable for over 26 years…i was also a “staff personal instuctor” where i taught Police officers and civilian support staff self defence skills etc both in a part time roll and as a full time instructor.

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