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We give you actionable advice so you can elevate your influence through purposeful negotiation—helping you overcome the hurdles you face in business and life to become even more successful.
Hi folks! Welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. In this episode, we continue our conversation with Coach Tony Blauer, founder of the world’s leading self-defense and combative training and consulting company.
If you haven’t already checked Part A of this show, we recommend doing that first. Tony gave us a detailed overview of how crucial fear management is to succeed in any walk of life. Now, without further delay, let’s jump into the conversation with Tony.
When asked to talk about self-awareness, Tony shares a wonderful story summarizing the importance of self-awareness in business and life. Tony had been running his gyms since the 90s; but when the pandemic hit, all training sessions had to be halted as the students had to stay home.
Within three months, he realized that he would be losing both his company and house since in-person coaching had been suspended and there was no revenue. Confused and frustrated, he called his team to explain his plans to move the business online and admitted that he was in the fear loop and needed help.
Almost unbelievably, Tony had a hundred people sign up that week because he was honest and aware of his situation. His self-awareness made him realize that he was anxious, but instead of pretending he wasn’t, it allowed him to peel the onion and realize what exactly he was afraid of.
Today, Coach Blauer makes more money teaching online than he does teaching in person. According to him, knowing your audience, message and method is an integral part of self-awareness. Self-Awareness also leads to critical thinking, and critical thinking augments situational awareness, which is an absolute for both business and life.
Moving on, Tony cites the expression; “the pen is mightier than the sword”. And then highlights that he’s modified it a little, “The pen is mightier than the sword when you know how to use a sword.”
This means that to convince the other party, one should talk, negotiate or even write them a letter, but if any of that blows up, he should be okay with that too.
For him, the ability to impose a situational awareness/self-awareness optic on a particular scene needs to be built on the foundation that you’ll be fine no matter what happens. Tony feels that this feeling is relevant for both business and life.
Next, Tony recalls being cheated by one of his business partners back in the day over a deal. He mentions that although he knew something was wrong, he didn’t want to investigate because he didn’t have the courage, the will, or the strategic insight to listen to his intuition.
That’s why he urges the listeners to investigate and conduct the required research if they have a bad feeling about a deal. He further asks you not to pretend everything’s okay when it’s not. Make sure you get ahead of the danger by investigating whatever you are dealing with and believing in your intuition.
Coach Blauer strongly believes that the primary ingredient that fuels courage is fear. So, in order to be courageous, you need to be afraid.
Tony, Aram, and Nolan discuss a lot more on this episode of the NEGOTIATEx Podcast. Write to us at email@example.com and share your thoughts on this very informational podcast episode.
Thank you for listening.
Nolan Martin : Hey everyone, thanks for joining us on the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Tony Blauer, founder of the world's leading self-defense and combatives training and consulting company. If you haven’t already checked our part A of this show, be sure to do that first. Now let's jump into the conversation with Tony.
Aram Donigian : I think we hear from a lot of, you know, a lot of folks that fear creeps into their negotiations and they get very fixated on a single action or two. And even how they're thinking about success kinda gets narrowed. How do you teach the self-awareness? I mean, how do I increase and prevent myself from getting like in the moment when my, you know, I'm in my kind of fight or flight response mode and I mean, how do I avoid from just zeroing in taking the wrong action, you know?
Tony Blauer : Yeah, that's a wonderful question and you're gonna hate my answer and love it at the same time. In 1980, when I was interviewed in Black Belt Magazine, I said to them, there should be as many self-defense systems as there are people practicing self defense. And the editor was like, what? I said, yeah, you're an ectomorph, I'm a mesomorph. You were, you had an amazing childhood, I was abused. My brother beat me up. You are a golden glove boxer.
Everything influences how we relate to conflict and confrontation. To say that this style is gonna solve this or that is, is erroneous, which is why still is like even here 40 plus years later, I'm still coming up with new ideas and new, something happens in the news and we're working on it going, okay, here's a new way to think about this. Violence is changing, like the palm strike hasn't changed, but how do we manage violence changes?
You know? I know what I could do, but I don't know what I would do if I have good self-awareness. You know? So to come back to that question, and I'll give you one more metaphoric example that's real. I've trained a lot of fighters and I remember, I've interviewed victims of violence. It's one of my things like, cuz I can't experience everything. So, you know, you were raped, you were abducted, someone tried to murder you, you were in in a gun fight.
And I would ask people, well, cuz I wanted to make sure that my intuition and the system resonated. And, I've done stuff with tier one military like full time SWAT teams, military victims. I've never had anybody go through our training and said that was bullshit. That wasn't real. Because I always, I always built it from primal gross motor physiology and psychology.
TB : It was never like, you should move like this. It's like, oh, you're gonna move. How you move and what's important to you when you're 10 changes, when you're 20, changes when you're 30, changes when you have kids, changes when you start your business. So when you're 22, someone cuts you off and you're like (bleep), and now you get your kids in the back of the car and you're like, you still got that little impulsive anger and maybe you hit the gas for a second. Then you go, what am I doing? Have I found in my car? Just chill out, right? You diffuse yourself. That's a self-awareness piece. Now, someone could say to you, when you're 18, let me talk to you about self-awareness and self-regulation and state awareness. And they're like, shut up old man, I got this, I'm invincible, right?
So why I say you hate and love the answer is the real answer is if I'm at a conference with you and you go, Tony Blauer gonna talk about self-awareness and we've got a 22-year old entrepreneur there and a 52-year old entrepreneur, they're gonna relate and absorb the information completely, completely differently.
But the reality is this, I am very comfortable public speaking and I've done stuff and there's, there's one story I always talk about where I was doing something for the airline pilots association. They had flown me out and I'm dealing with like, like 50 representatives from 50 states, a class of 50. They say, Hey, can we extend your stay? Can you talk to the general assembly? And I'm like, yeah, sure. I didn't even ask who it is or what it is. And they go like, can you talk for like 45 minutes? Yeah. Like, you know, I'll try to not talk for five hours, but I'll talk for 45 minutes.
Then just before they go, Hey, the guy before you going a little bit long, can you cut it down to about 20 minutes? Wow. Okay. Geez, 20 minutes. Ok, cool. And then it's like, oh by the way no swearing.
TB : I'm like, (bleep) no really . And they go, also it's being broadcast live. CNN and Fox are here. They're doing a little clip here, so you're gonna be on live tv, you'll have an earpiece. I'm like, like, okay, what am I doing? Who's this? And I'm like, I haven't even looked at, there's 500 people in this general assembly for this airline pilots association thing and it's live TV. And they cut my talk to 20 minutes and I'm like, like right now, just describing it to you, my physiology's changing.
AD : Yeah, I imagine….
TB : Right? I got goosebumps right now and I remember picking up my phone, calling my wife, going (bleep). I go, listen, I don't even know what, what I'm gonna talk about. Like, I'm like, I'm sweating. I'm freaking out. Thank God I'm wearing a black polo cuz I'm dripping wet right now.
She goes, just start talking, you'll be fine. I go, no, you don't understand like this time I'm gonna blow it. She goes, why would you say that? How could you say that this is what you do? I go, no, like it's 500 people. It's live tv. I can't swear. I can't warm up the audience. I'm not gonna juggle and pull a rabbit outta the hat. Like I'm, she goes, do you know how many times you've called me and said this? Just a couple. Just start talking, you'll be fine. So I go up and it's fine and I call her up after. That's so amazing. I wish it was recorded.
But we work ourselves up at the moment. So the self-awareness piece, like now, and I'll give you an example. So that was like, that was 1990, 1993 when the, when the pandemic happened, all my training was live, like all our four on force, all, all our high gear suits stopped cause everyone stopped training.
And within about three months I realized I was gonna lose my company, lose my house, lose everything. And I'm sitting here at 60 years old and it was like somebody shoved a vacuum up my ankle, sucking out my insides. I was literally in my office doing this. Cause it was like two weeks to flatten the curve and the 35 courses got canceled over the next two months. That was hundreds of thousands of dollars. But all our stuff is external. We didn't have any digital assets, we didn't do stuff online. And I'm looking around going, I'm gonna lose everything. I gave myself 24 hours to mourn and feel bad and feel sorry for myself that I didn't prepare for the pandemic before the pandemic. I called up my team the next day. I said, the people who manage their fear manage to fight.
You guys know the drill. I go, you can't solve a problem if you are the problem. You don't know that you're the problem unless you have self-awareness. Right now I'm freaking out. Although I look very stoic, guys. We need to figure shit out. What are we gonna do? We need new websites, we need digital programs. I'm gonna start calling. And we always had a very cerebral program and we have a very, you know, we're one of the most respected groups teaching consultancies in the world.
So I could call within a month I was doing like 10 hour zoom calls with the Australian federal police and all their trainers' businesses. Google actually called me to do some work with some of their people. And it was very funny, like cuz I thought it was a joke at first. And so I said, Hey, how'd you find me? Did you Google me? And it was very funny. We hear that all the time.
But what's my point about this is to tie it to your story. I'm in my garage gym right now and I'm talking to a buddy of mine who's very, very successful in the fitness space. He's got a protein company, online training. So he sat, he's fine. His name's Steve Weatherford and he go, I go, dude, I can fucking lose everything if I don't figure something out. He says, aren't you kind of like a famous self-defense guy? I said, yeah. I said, yeah. He said, well, how many people would want to train with you online? Who can't?
I said, I've got 150 people watching me work out every day on Zoom. He says, I don't charge them cuz they're part of my community already. He says, why don't you do that?
TB : So I, here's what I did, and this is the point, and maybe hopefully this touches somebody listening to this. I had a choice between filming me, going, guys, coach Blauer here. And I got this great opportunity, or I came on, I said, Hey guys, I need your help. I am in the fear loop right now. I am at the risk of losing everything. I'm gonna start. And I, and I explained what I was gonna do. I had a hundred people sign up that week because I just told the truth. And what I'm talking about is the self-awareness, knowing your audience, knowing your, your, what your message is and what your method is. Yeah. So I would tell people the self-awareness piece. Like when I started all this, I remember saying to my wife before the first class, and this is now we're a class 470 in a row since the pandemic.
TB : I make more money online than I do teaching live. And I just, I just finished a class this morning, but I've got people from all over the world that tune in to get educated and everything. But the first very first class, half hour before the class, I'm walking around the house, I'm pacing. My wife says, are you okay? I go, yeah, I'm so nervous. And she says, how could you be nervous? She says, you're the best SPEAR system instructor in the world. You love coaching.
You can't catch COVID on Zoom, why are you nervous? And I said two things. I started this company teaching outta garages and I might save the company teaching outta my garage. That full circle would again, goosebumps. And I said, and I need this to work because if it doesn't work, we've got a very, very big problem.
So, I was able to, to my self-awareness, said, you're anxious. But instead of pretending I wasn't right, I was able to, the self-awareness allowed me to peel the onion and go, what exactly am I afraid of? And that's one of the things that I teach. So when we do, I love that you guys see the connection between the psychology of fear and negotiation. You guys remember the name Iggy Pop? Yes.
So, Iggy Pop was a punk rock guy from the UK, a different generation, but I share this in every business seminar. I go, Iggy Pop said, imagine if desperation were attractive, imagine if desperation were attractive. So imagine you and I are about to go on a date and I go, Hey, I'm so glad we're wearing a date. I hope it works out cause I really want three kids and I wanna live happily ever after. And and you're like, whoa, I don't even know your last name yet, this might work out, but am I gonna say no right away?
TB : Because desperation is never attractive, right? So if you can't manage your fear, can you manage the fight? And the fight is the metaphor for my tactical presence, my facade, my, so if I'm going, if I walk in there and I go, if I'm done, if this deal, I'm gonna get fired. If this deal doesn't happen, I'm not gonna make my quota if this deal doesn't happen.
And it's really interesting the success we've had working with different people getting to realize that cuz there are some places that you could do what I did where I could come in and imagine if I started off, I just did a podcast recently where the guy was so nervous to talk to me cuz he was a lifelong martial artist and he couldn't believe I said yes to his podcast.
So I said to him, I go, listen man, take a deep breath and just acknowledge that you're afraid and it's making your voice quaver and you're not talking, you're thinking carefully.
TB : So you're gonna [bleep] the show, right? So don't do that. You're good, you're cool. It's okay to be nervous. There's lots of things in life you need to be nervous about and you still need to do the thing you're nervous about. If you wait till you're not nervous, that window of opportunity is gone. But there's a balance, right? You gotta know who your audience is cuz I've gotten up on stage, or like my first class I came in, I go, guys, I am a fear management expert. You all know my background, my history, right? And they're like, yeah. I go, I'm (bleep) right now, can you tell? And they're like, what?
But I know exactly what I'm afraid of and it's not my skillset. It's cuz I'm visualizing the future and it's impacting how I'm thinking in the present. But now that I've said that, I can focus on the beginning of the speech. So there's a time when you can actually say that to your audience, Hey guys, like I'm, I cannot believe that I'm talking in front of so and so and so and so. I am so nervous right now if I pass out, who here knows mouth to mouth, preferably.
You know, like I would rather it be from that beautiful woman over there. Instead of you serving like you're telling a joke and now suddenly you realize, okay, the audience is cool, they're nervous too, I'm nervous, let's start talking. And then there's a time when, you know, telling people you're nervous might backfire.
NM : And I think something that you said there kind of sparked a lot of thoughts, kind of going back to my military days and applying self-awareness. And I think that it's important for the leader to help his or her people understand their self-awareness by doing realistic training, which is what you focus on. And then by providing that feedback, I always think about this medic that I had. It wasn't in the ranger regiment, but it was after.
And I'd used a lot of the skills I learned in Ranger regimen, a lot of the realistic training. And I had this medic who just thought he was hot (bleep). And so he was great, you know, during the day he'd be able to teach guys every time he hit the vein was phenomenal. However, we did this night training cause we're getting ready to play to Iraq and night training, it was a, it was a long movement to get to the objective, I'm the company commander, so I'm just the observer and I'm just kind of overseeing this.
And generally as a company commander, your younger soldiers are a little nervous to be around you because they don't wanna say anything stupid to get them in trouble or anything like that. And so, but I'm observing him and I really wanted to put the pressure on him. So we had a casualty, it was like a scenario based casualty go down, he's already sweating, he's exhausted and he's got nods, no lights. And I make him stick him with the live needle to start pushing fluids before they move him to actually get exfil.
So basically taken away on a helicopter in his ear. I'm like, if you don't stick him, he is going to die. Like just trying to make it the most uncomfortable, realistic scenario where your heart's racing. He's just fumbling with the needle now this the, you know, this action that he used to do so well.
NM : And after, you know, a few misses, he finally gets it, tapes it down and they're able to move him out. And so it's that realistic training that he realized, okay, there are a lot of scenarios that I'm not as good as I think I am. I need to go back and work on that stuff. So I think that's kind of a lot of stuff that you talked about and a lot of things that, the scenarios that you provide just by being a coach, just by providing those realistic scenarios, just by providing that feedback that you're helping people become self-aware, even if there's a million flavors to what that actually means for people.
So that just made me think of that.
TB : Yeah, yeah, for sure. There, there's layers. There's layers and there's times to do it. And so, you know, what you did for him ultimately saved somebody's life down range at a, at a later time because he could draw on like, I had this, I've had this pressure before, I know what to do here. At the same time, there's, there's the, the recipe for success is also the recipe for disaster. If you're rushing something. And you've gotta know, and this is so, so a really good leader can demystify fear, but knows also capacity potential. I can push this person and I believe in their capacity potential connection cuz you, cuz you can push someone, of course scar them and ruin them.
And a lot of people, a lot of people do that. So it's a delicate thing. And this goes back to what I said earlier, that you know what's important when you're 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, changes. But that's also like the bedrock of somebody's skill set, their competency. You know, if, if you don't even know how to hold a gun and I throw you into a force on force exercise, you know, with submunitions or UTM or paintball and freak you out, like that might be your lifelong PTSD for a gun fight because I didn't even teach you, you know, weapon handling first. So there's a, there's a protocol before you throw somebody in the deep end, which obviously you know that.
AD : That. So Tony, one of the concepts that we teach in negotiation, we call it Negotiation Jujitsu. It's, it's a concept of when we are dealing with a very hard bargainer, somebody who's just being a jerk or using, you know, difficult tactics, maybe even, you know, malicious sort of activities. And we use their momentum and direction against them.
The first step is don't react. We talk about stepping to the balcony, really kind of self-awareness. How am I showing up? What's my goal? What's my aim? And then the next step is what is it that they are doing and why? How does that fit into what you teach in terms of, you've talked about self-awareness. How does the understanding of this other person and what they're trying to accomplish and how can we get better at maybe observing or identifying what the other person's trying to do?
TB : There's a few things I wanna say there and I hope I remember them all. You know the expression, the pen is mightier than the sword?
AD : Yeah.
TB : So I modified that back in the eighties and I changed it to the, the pen is mightier than the sword when you know how to use a sword. And what that means is I'll talk, I'll negotiate, I'll even write you a letter, but if this thing blows up, I'm okay with that too. And I think that is very relevant for business and relationships. And that is, I, I want this to happen. Let's say relationship. I want to fix this and if it doesn't, I'll be fine. I'll be sad, I'll be hurt, but I'll be fine. I want this business to work, I want this deal to work, but if it doesn't, I'll be fine. And I think the ability to impose a situational awareness/ self-awareness optic on the scenario needs to have at its base this idea that you'll be fine. So, if I'm negotiating with you and if you don't say yes in my mind, my wife's gonna leave me, I'm gonna be fired.
I can't support my kids, then suddenly we, we unconsciously, I'm Iggy Pop's quote, Hey man, look what, what I need to make this deal happen, right? And if you say, look, this guy's being a bully, cuz that's his, that's his school training. Hey, here's how the deal's gonna go, right? And he is just being asked and everything. I've done deals, big, big deals in the past where I was so excited with the size of the company and who they were. And it was such a nightmare after such a nightmare during that. I actually, like in some of my business talks, there's one thing a lot of people don't know, I don't talk about it a lot, is in 2010 my company did $12 million domestic, I had a dozen employees, I had a 21,000 foot facility. And it was taken from me by a corrupt CEO and my former partner.
They did a deal behind my back and violated every fiduciary obligation and all that. And they were just, they were just too big and it was a nightmare. And there was so much going on. I just dissolved, I dissolved the company and I went from making a lot of money on Friday to like zero on Monday and had to rebuild everything.
AD : Wow!
TB : And I say that because when the dust settled and I rebuilt everything bigger and better, I got asked through different communities, Hey, would you come talk to these entrepreneurs, to these business people? And if so, what would you talk about?
And I go, well, how about like a world renowned self-defense expert who teaches self-awareness and situational awareness. How I violated everything that is fundamental to self-defense and how I lost my company by not paying attention to pre-contact uses. Not having the courage to go, Hey, why did you guys change the name of the holding company here?
TB : Why, why this doesn't make sense here? Why is this patent being put into this, this person's name? Oh this is for this, this is for this. And I knew something was wrong, but I didn't want to investigate it cuz I couldn't believe something was happening. And that's the denial.
Every victim of violence who lived to tell the tale said, I knew every victim, every victim of violence. And this could be violence in business, like a hostile takeover, a relationship any, everyone knows. And every one of you, have you ever been screwed in business? Yes. Have you ever been betrayed by a friend or a loved one? Yes. Did you ever say to somebody after, you know, I knew that was gonna happen. Yes, our intuition is undefeated , but we don't have the courage or the will or the strategic insight to listen to our intuition.
TB : This is a big part of our program. If I’ve got a bad feeling about something now I go, okay, I gotta investigate this. I'm not gonna pretend everything's okay. I want to get ahead of the danger, right? Left the bang. I want to get, I want, I want to understand stuff super early.
So you know, this whole idea, and I'm hoping this makes sense, in order for you to say, I'm okay if this deal doesn't happen. That's the only way that you can, if you've got a few different negotiation styles, be that chameleon. I'm not a chameleon. When I negotiate, I like, I'm just myself. I go, Hey listen, I really wanna do this. Here's the proverbial win-win blah, blah, blah, blah. Cause if you understand fear and psychology, like I've said to people who are doing the, you know, I was talking to this one guy and every time he gesture, he touched my arm. Have you ever had like that person.
AD : That unfortunately I might be that person, but go ahead…..
TB : But if it's a tactic to create rapport and somebody is good self annoying, it's annoying, right? So awareness, it's annoying, right? But if, if you're like, oh my god, and you like, this is so exciting. If it's truly emotive, it's natural. So it's gotta be congruent, right? So, but I was in this business meeting and this guy goes, well here's what we do. And I'm leaning on the table like this, talking to him, and he touched my forearm.
And after like the fifth time, I said, Hey, I need you to stop touching my forearm. I know it's part of this negotiation personality ethic protocol every time you say, but like, because I know that then I know you're just trying to manipulate me. It's annoying. Just talk to me. We'll be fine. And he was like, oh, like flustered, because that's what it was, right?
TB : But I tell you this, it's like that Spider-Man quote that I don't remember, you know, with, with great power. It was great response comes, yeah, responsibility. So self-awareness is also like, like a, that can screw things up for you too, because most of the people who you're talking to don't have that self-awareness. It's a very delicate thing where, where I, where I say slow. Hey, slow down, Aram, let's talk like I, you're talk, first of all, you're at 10, I need you to come to a seven and I need you to step back six inches. That's not gonna work on me.
And obviously that's not a good bedside manner to say that, but just to give you an example, like if that person doesn't know that they're even doing that, like we've all had arguments with people who they have no self-awareness. You can't go anywhere.
TB : So it's an interesting thing. I would say this and I hijack the conversation and turn it into this, is if you work for somebody and you're not an entrepreneur, like for example, my team, they'll sometimes go do a presentation and I'll say to them, obviously we want this deal.
Obviously I want you to hit a home run and knock it outta the park. And if I didn't think you could do it, I wouldn't send you, I'd go, so don't <bleep> this up. You're fine. You know, and they laugh and I go, listen, this would be great for business, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. Not a big deal. If I thought it was so risky and needed to be finessed so much, I'd be going and you'd be shadowing or co-presenting, but I know you can do this. And if it, and if they go, Hey, I can't, no na, you know, but what I'm talking about is you're talking about that, that leadership thing of, I know that they've got fear.
TB : I had a guy doing a class online for me. His name's Dave, he's a professional stuntman. He's been in big shows, big movies, you know, fallen outta buildings on fire, you know, like fallen off horses and crazy shit. He lives in Ireland, he's been a bouncer for decades. He's been in tons of street fights. He's been a lifelong martial artist. And he's on my mobile training team. So this is a first online course he's gonna do. And I text him on WhatsApp. I go, Dave, how do you feel? You ready for the course? He goes, he says, coach, I'm so nervous. I go, it's so cute that you're nervous. You've been in like 500 street fights. You've competed in martial arts and now you're afraid to do something online via Zoom. I go, why are you nervous?
He goes, cause I don't wanna let you down. I go, good. That means you care and I care too. And you would not be doing this if I thought you would screw it up. Just be yourself and have fun. Now, if Dave didn't know it was okay to talk to me about his fear, he'd have just lied and said, I'm great. I'm ready to go. But he knew, he was afraid. I knew, I knew he was. I made him talk about it. And we didn't dance around what it is. He went right away. I don't wanna let you down. Just like when I, when I started the, the, the online training, I knew exactly what I was nervous about. And that allowed me to talk about it, the elephant in the room, guys, let's talk about this. You want this deal? I want this deal. If it doesn't happen, we're both gonna be okay. We know that. So let's see if we can make it happen. And now suddenly all the games are over.
AD : Tony, on your website it says, learn how to face fear, understand it and control it. Learn to change your mindset, improve your communication, enhance your performance. Inspire your family, friends and peers. When you change how you look at fear, you change everything. You're a father, I'm a father. I got six kids. When do you start teaching these concepts, training these concepts, particularly around self-awareness, facing fear. When do you start working with kids on this stuff?
TB : I thought you were gonna go somewhere else.
AD : Go either way.
TB : I thought you were gonna say like, so when does fear stop? Right? And I go like, like, you know, like, it doesn't, as a parent, you know, I don't care how old your kids are, you know, but that's an amazing question. And I'll tell you what, I did not anticipate you asking me that cuz I pull out, I've got a handwritten letter from a 10-year old kid. Two years ago, you might have noticed I have one or two tattoos.
My buddy Aaron from Ghost Tattoo in Vegas, shameless bloodful Aaron. He calls me up, he says, Hey man, my kid who's a great kid is starting to exhibit signs of anxiety. The masks, Vegas masks everywhere playing sports and masks, not seeing anyone's smile. And his behavior's changing and it's freaking me out as his dad. And he said, 'cause I have a, I have a, an on, we do live of course Know Fear programs, but we have a digital course for people who can't bring us in and work with us.
And he says, is it too old for him? And this was my answer. I said, I don't know your son. I hadn't met him at the time. I said, I don't know your son. Kid's name is Salem. He says, but I know you and the program's not too old for you and you're his dad and you're his coach and you're his mentor.
I don't wanna get political here, but, but our school system is a mess. And you don't need him to be influenced by them. And maybe he's gotta go for some classes, but you might need to be looking into what you need to undo and course correct at home. So he gets to know the fear program and I'm back a month later. I go to get some more work done and he goes, oh, oh, before we start here. And he hands me a piece of paper.
TB : When's the last time one of you guys got a handwritten letter? I don't, I don't know. I almost wanna go go dig, get her to my office and, and, and, and show it to you. But it's a handwritten letter from this kid Salem. And it says dear Mr. Blauer. And he goes on like one of our, one of our, our our expressions that I make people. And I make a joke. I go, this will be your next tattoo. But it's the line. You can't be brave if you're not afraid. You cannot be brave if you're not afraid. The primary ingredient that fuels courage is fear. If we remove fear, there's no courage needed. Both of you have jumped out of airplanes, right? Do you guys like jumping outta airplanes or do you not?
NM : No, it's awful.
TB : So listen, both of you are qualified to do it when you're, when you had to do it. And I, I tell the story. I love telling the story. I was down at Fort Bragg, working, working, you know, with the big boys. And we meet on Saturday to discuss the course during the week. And then after the meeting at a coffee shop, one of the guys says, Hey, you wanna go jump this afternoon? And I know what he means.
And I go like this, like, like this, like up and down with my fingers on the table. He goes, haha. He goes, no skydiving. I said, yeah, I know. I said, hold on a sec. Oh my afternoon, I'm booked. I'm like, I'm sorry. He goes, oh, aren't you Mr, he air quotes aren't you Mr. Fear management? And I said, yeah, I'm managing my fear by not jumping outta the airplane. And so he laughs but the guy beside him laughs the nervous laugh that you two have.
TB : This guy's an adrenaline junkie. I go, he's got like over 600 jumps. He goes whenever he can. But I knew this guy was in the same unit as him. They both are qualified to jump off an airplane. But one guy hates it. One guy loves it. What's the difference? The guy who loves it doesn't need any courage to jump outta the airplane. The guy who doesn't like it needs fear management. That's the fuel for courage. Okay? Fuck parachute please, right? And so this line, you can't be brave if you're not afraid is so powerful. Here's this, this letter from a 10 year old kid, handwritten, dear Tony, thank you for the Know Fear program. Thank you for the opportunity from my dad and I to work on this important program. It's so important for me to learn how to be brave.
So I'm not afraid. And as I'm reading it, I'm in the tattoo parlor, I start to cry. uncool and this is just an incongruent, tired time. I'm like, you close the door, please. And I'm what I'm thinking about. I didn't have a good relationship with my dad. And I'm thinking, I remember one time in my life I was so scared if something happened and he said to me on the phone, seeding through his teeth, don't be a (bleep) wimp.
And it hurt me cuz I wasn't, I'd already been in fights. I had already built my business. I had already and I was just dealing with something that I, that my parents hadn't prepared me for, that no guardian had prepared me for. I was being vulnerable and I didn't need to be kicked in the [bleeps] at that time. Right? And I started crying cuz I was thinking about Aaron's vulnerability to say, I'm afraid for my son can you help? Turned into an opportunity for him and his son to talk about fear, which is gonna change his son's life and change their relationship. As father and son or mother, father guardian.
And that's my big mission now is to get this program into the hands of parents. Cuz it can't go into big tech and it can't go into schools and as much as we'd like it to, because at the end of the day, the future of the world, if we look at what's going on right now, it's pretty grim. Fear has been weaponized. The only way that you can counter that is to understand fear, to understand the psychology and neuroscience of fear to go, wait a minute, I see what you're doing with this propaganda, or I see what you're doing with this threat. And the only way you can do that is to create self-awareness.
TB : That's our superpower. Self-Awareness leads to critical thinking and self-awareness and critical thinking, augment situational awareness where suddenly you go, ah, I see that and I see that from a distance. And now I can triangulate on that.
AD : Thanks Tony.
TB : So dude, one, one thing on that. So, you know, it depends on the parent, it depends on the kid, but as soon as possible, it's ironic that, that you bring it up. And I'm so grateful that you did because there's a professor named Glen Sunshine who was a lifelong martial artist. This is the first slide in our Know Fear program. It's an email that he sent me about 12 years ago. Never met this guy, never trained him. But in 1993, I released, this is how far ahead of the curve we were in 1986, we released some videos through Panther Productions. And the first video was called Cerebral Self-Defense: The Mental Edge.
It was all about deescalation and self-awareness that you can't diffuse someone else if you can't diffuse yourself. And then in 1993, we released an audio tape called Metacognition the Mental Edge and, and then an audio version of cerebral self defense, the Mental Edge. And this guy got these two audio tapes and he sends me this letter like again, like 12 years ago. And in a nutshell, I'm paraphrasing it, he's thanking me for helping him raise his children.
And he says, your insights on the psychology of fear versus the fight, flight, freeze, biology, the neurobiology, which is all relevant, but it's irrelevant if you don't know what's happening. And it's irrelevant if you can't self coach yourself through the problem. That's the self-awareness piece and regulating state. And so he basically said like, and I ended up interviewing him on our Know Fear podcast.
And he said, now that my kids are grown up, they're in their late twenties, thirties. Now when I see them next to their peers that grew up in the same suburb as me, they are completely different in their life's accomplishments and how they handle challenges and how they handle obstacles. And the only thing different that we did as parents with the group of parents that we all kind of like knew was the inclusion of your approach to fear management. Crazy, right?
AD : Huge.
NM : Yeah.
AD : And fear. Fear seems to hide around every corner these days. So….
TB : Well, it's everything. And if you like, if you change your relationship with fear, you change your mind. If you change your mind, you change your life.
NM : That's great. Tony, let me be the first to say thank you so much for joining us on the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Thoroughly enjoyed it and I loved really digging deep into, you know, self-awareness and really understanding everything like that. Aram and I both love bringing on a diverse group of experts to basically be able to glean different things that we can use to help teach other peoples how to be more effective leaders. And so with that, thank you again. I'm gonna turn it over to Aram.
AD : Yeah, Tony, I'm gonna say thanks too. You know, this was, this was the fastest hour and 15 minutes that we've ever done with anyone, so thank you for that and thanks for your insights.
TB : I appreciate that.
AD : Yeah, I'm, I'm gonna look into this program. I'll just say cuz this is something I want my kids and I want myself to be able to lean in and be, be more effective in. And so trying to go back and try to, you know, find one thing to quote you on, I just, you know, manage, manage fear, manage the fight. You know, if we can show up and be more effective because we're, we're more self-aware, I just think that's a powerful takeaway in any context, any situation any of us are gonna face. So thanks again. I thank you very much.
TB : I appreciate it guys. This is fine and hopefully your audience gets something out of it.
NM : Absolutely. And people who manage their fear manage to fight. So thanks Tony. With that, that is it for us on the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Thanks for listening.
Please rate, review and subscribe to the podcast. You can get anything from Tony's website. If you go blauertrainingsystems.com and have links to all his other websites there. And you can connect with Tony, learn more about the Know Fear program. So with that, thanks, we'll see you in the next episode.
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