View Full Version : S.C.A.R.S. Your thoughts

Please visit our sponsor:

01-13-2003, 12:04 PM
I came across this web site and it looks to me like these guys are really badmouthing the heck out of all conventional martial arts . The most interesting thing is that their pilosophy seems to be the exact opposite of AIKIDO. They dont believe in any sort of defence, just offence. Offensive thinking, attacking not defending ete etc.

Anyone has heard of SCARS if so what are you thoughts.

here is a link to the main site


here is a link to the testimonials where there is alot of mention of martial arts such as ju jitsu, judo, tKD etc being so ineffective versus SCARS.



01-13-2003, 12:44 PM
I have read about scars before. It seems like it is *very* effective. Reading through the site the key premise behind it is to kill or severly injure the person attacking you. So it is not a recreational hobby.

It also seems it is geared more toward goverment, private security, body guards etc then John Q Public.

Effectiveness depends on the person you are fighting. I know quite a few black belts in various martial arts that can't take a punch... Of course having a black belt does not mean you can. I think that people often confuse this issue.

I would like to take the course, but not at 5k.

Anyone here actually experienced scars?

01-13-2003, 12:49 PM
I hear they also have training tapes, has anyone seen one?

01-13-2003, 12:56 PM

I'm going to qualify my own comments by saying I know nothing about SCARS other than what is contained in this website, but my initial impressions were pretty poor.

1st, I have little doubt that SCARS is an effective fighting system; there are a lot of them out there. How useful though? I have always believed - and this has been backed up by experience - that the best way to survive a fight is to avoid it. That's one of the reasons I started taking Aikido. This SCARS seems to have the opposite message - the best way to survive a fight is to kill the other guy before he kills you. The chosen acronym alone is an indication of its intent. SCARS seems to directly promote aggressive behaviour; that is not good, from either a moral or tactical standpoint. A quote in the testemonials says "Just from watching the SCARS tapes I felt indestructible." The fact is, kids; you are destructible; the human body is a fragile thing. Is defending it, rather than using it as an offensive weapon - as they advocate outright - a bad thing?

Note: I'm new to Aikido myself; less than a year, but I have extensive fighting experience in other areas. As a retired soldier, I studied the art of killing/damaging/controlling an enemy - not an opponent - for years, and have employed these skills in some of the hottest spots on Earth. In EVERY SINGLE ENCOUNTER, from protesters to drunks (yes, you get them in war zones too) to machete-weilding attackers, I have never had to injure someone to defend myself. (I'm not including actual combat here, of course.) Taking them down, using their own aggression against them, often talking them down have all proven overwhelmingly effective. In more than a few situations, had I or any of my mates employed the attitude which seems to be advocated by this SCARS system, we would have been in trouble - there are usually others in the area who will jump to their fellow's defence, and they often carry live ammunition.

Another point: I don't know about the US military's use of SCARS, I'm Canadian, but I would really like to hear from a current US serviceman (Kevin Leavitt, are you reading this? :) ) for his views.



01-13-2003, 01:04 PM
The SCARS system comes up semi-regularly for discussion on the Close Quarter Combatives forum on E-Budo.

The most recent thread on it is here:


The thread includes a link to a review of the tapes.

Summary, for the click-phobic:

I wouldn't buy the tapes myself.

Mindset seems to be important to the system.

The link to the US Navy SEALs is mostly hype. Lots of people claim "taught to the SEALS", most of them are technically correct. What does that mean? It means the SEALS like to try lots of things and pick up what they like out of them. Doesn't mean that any of them are Official SEAL systems of unarmed combat, or even that the SEALs study them at all in depth.


01-13-2003, 02:00 PM
OK, quick browse, here's my first impression:

It's a money-making thing. Think AmWay with a CQC slant.

It's not about martial arts at all, it's about CQC. Two very different things.

Testimonials are worth about as much as the electrons or ink used to offer them ...

"Fear Is The Mind-Killer" -- Very ... Dune.

"Neural Offensive LinguisticsTM: The Power of Words" -- Still more Dune.

We can check out the alleged SEAL link pretty easily, if anyone's REALLY interested. Fact is, they MIGHT have a SEAL or three in their classes, that does NOT mean they are a contracted, official trainer of the Navy's SpecOps folks. BIG difference. (NSW, by the way, Naval Surface Warfare School, probably has little do do with CQC and more to do with driving big freaking ships and blowing things up from far, far away ... but I'm an old soldier, not an old squid, so what do I know? And IS there a SEAL Team Three? Last I heard, OK, I'm out of the SpecOps net these days, there were only two active SEAL Teams anyhow.)

I short, even if these guys are legit, they're comparing apples and oranges.

In CQC training, I teach you how to sneak up on a sentry and gut him quietly and with as little fuss as possible. In budo training, the goals, methodology and practice are MUCH different.

Now, all that said, some of what they are purporting to teach is not bad at all, in terms of personal combat. I'm just a little leery and off-put by the packaging.


01-13-2003, 02:11 PM
Wow, these guys are right in my backyard and I have never even heard of them. I was impressed by the Clint Eastwood scowl and the Rottweiler body language of their "master", Jerry Peterson. Given the chance though, I think I would rather spend my money here:


The claims made are more believable (according to Adolf Hitler).

Jim Vance

01-13-2003, 02:34 PM
Wow! What a site.

I guess if that's what you're into, 'look no further'. It sounds effective, and if I were even slightly homicidal, I'd look into it. ;)

Seriously, I agree with DaveO, that it doesn't seem to be "evil", and, in fact, a good tool for people looking for that sort of thing.

If it bugs anyone, you can use this as a basis of comparison to aikido. "Would you rather be doing this?" :)


P.S. The thing that does concern me just a bit is that they have a "PACT" course for cops too; same as Sosa sensei's program, but way WAY different.

01-13-2003, 02:38 PM
I agree completely, I found this site quite interesting and very disrespectful to other styles. Thats why I posted it up here for discussion. By the way Jim vance..I love the link...I really needed a great laugh. I' still chuckling over the comparison...lol

01-13-2003, 05:27 PM
Hello, again.

The more I read it, the less I like it.

I'm still willing to accept the system would work from a technical standpoint - let's face it; the body moves and works in only so many ways; when study, application and intent are applied in enough measure, virtually any form of structured fighting technique will work IMO.

But - and this is a big 'but', there's enough questionable material here for me to..er..question it.

Let's start with the name: SCARS.

I change something I said in my first post: While I still don't know anything about the SEALs fighting training; I'm willing to bet this system is not part of it in formal application.

I KNOW it's not part of any North American police force in formal application - cops walk a VERY thin line in the performance of their duties; they have to be cautious when taking a suspect down; it's easy to get accused of 'police brutality' and 'assault' nowadays.

Let's look at the name again for a second though: SCARS. It was chosen specifically to make the acronym; the words themselves are disjointed and rather, IMO, immature: "Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary Systems Combat Fighting Course"


What's special about it? They advertize the system as unique and I don't doubt that it is; but logically, using this aspect of the word, the same could be applied to Aikido, Escrima, Kung-Fu, etc. Any MA that has its own series of unique - or 'special' - methods.


This system is advertised for civilians; where does 'combat' come into it? This word was chosen, simply, because it sounds tough. Because 'combat' is a very mis-used word; and is often applied to 'street' situations.

This is gonna sound like ego here, but I'll guarantee you one thing: Anyone who has the idea of calling this 'combat' has never experienced the real thing; they'd almost certainly wind up cowering like a little puddle of jelly if they were thrust into - for instance - the Krajina. Toughness and meanness won't get you through combat; there's only two things that do: Training and discipline. Quite frankly, as a veteran, I find such casual use of the term insulting.


Well, yes; they're certainly advocating maximum aggression; the choice of TV heroes everywhere. But look at the next word:


Aggressive and Reactionary: Sounds like a teenage punk, if you ask me. But that's not the point of this bit; the word in the title is 'Reactionary'. Look at this from the SCARS site:

Offense vs. Defense: Cause vs. Effect

The difference between offensive and defensive thinking is as simple to understand as action vs. reaction, cause vs. effect. Defensive thought is concerned with reacting to actions that have already taken place. The defensive thinker will take in external stimuli and turn inward, concerned with the effect on the self (worrying). The offensive thinker is the cause of effects--creating strategies within the mind and moving them outward into the physical world as action. They will take the same external stimuli and make decisions, which are executed as actions, to effect the source of the stimuli in the manner most appropriate and advantageous to the situation.

Sure look like they're saying Reacting rather than Acting is a Bad Thing. In other words, even the name contradicts the system's stated purpose.

The rest of the name; 'systems' then 'Combat Fighting Course' is redundant filler, nothing more.

This may work, it may not. BUT - it was created to make money bu playing on the fears and prevalent attitudes of American TV culture. Nothing more.


01-13-2003, 06:20 PM
http://www.scars.com/ (http://)

(this link doesn't work, best go to the first post)

wtf is a 'Legal age' ?

01-13-2003, 11:12 PM
After a quick look at the scars web site I'm not very impressed.

We have a saying in the Army "Two million dollars of training and any redneck with a shotgun can kill you."

A green beret was shot outside Ft. Bragg about a year ago because he mistook a police officer for a participant in a field excercise. He tried to disarm the policeman and was shot in the process.

If scars lives up to it's hype, it has no place in the civilian world. Self defense laws nearly universally recognize a "Force Continuum" where the response is no more dangerous than the action. If a person violates the force continuum they make themselves an easy target for lawyers.

If someone throws a punch at you and you break their neck you have violated the force continuum. If someone throws a punch at you and you pin them to the ground, nobody dies and the response was no more violent than the attack.

As a soldier I understand the need to kill someone quickly and quietly. But it is not responsible to teach killing/brutalization as self defense or a martial art.

My opinion is that Aikido is more than enough for anyone. If you really want to be violent learn some form of jujitsu. The Tokyo Riot Police are taught aikido, and read Heckler's book "In Search of the Warrior Spirit" or something like that, it's been a while since I read it.

Violence is power, and power corrupts.

I think that scars has no place in civilian life, whether or not it works.

01-14-2003, 02:05 AM
I don't usually bother with SCARS, but since everyone would like to know...

Jerry Peterson's only martial arts experience was in Kung Fu San Soo. He then "created" a "100% scientific" system that looks and acts exactly like KFSS(in the begining levels, first 3 years or so), down to the pilosophy.

Mr. Peterson has been proven to have copied SCARS from San Soo in federal court.

I actually teach KFSS in a club here at the university. I am the president of both the KFSS club and the Aikido club.

Both arts are very effective at what they do, and the reasons behind what they do are also both logical and well thought out. I have seen ever movement and technique I have been taught in Aikido during my studies of KFSS.

Almost all arts teach you a range of responses, and the same is true for San Soo. You learn to kill, but you don't have to take it that far if you don't want to.

By the way, why do you have to learn jujitsu if you want to be violent?

01-14-2003, 06:31 AM
I know virtualy nothing of S.C.A.R.S, other than the cheesy ads they use to have in Black Belt magazine.

Having said that, any style that out of hand dismisses the effectiveness of other styles seems to raise a red flag for me. (Even BJJ guys I know give kudos to aikido).

Having said that, have you seen this?


How does that compare to the SCARS stuff?

01-14-2003, 10:22 AM

How does that compare to the SCARS stuff?
Not having seen much of the SCARS system, and being mostly too put off by their marketing scheme, I can't say. However, I have discovered that SCARS has been worked over thoroughly on E-budo (www.e-budo.com). Interesting comments.

Also, for folks interested in the US Army combatives manual, the authors of the current iteration are (or have recently been) members and frequent contributors on E-budo.


01-14-2003, 01:40 PM
Not having seen much of the SCARS system, and being mostly too put off by their marketing scheme, I can't say. However, I have discovered that SCARS has been worked over thoroughly on E-budo (www.e-budo.com). Interesting comments.
Also over on rec.martial.arts & MMA.tv

Small world abt the Army manual tho :-)

Having said that, I did a quick look-see at EJMAS and found...


maybe Ripose has something on this stuff too?


Maybe also of interest is a search on R.A.T. (I think that's what its called)

ADDENDUM That EMJAS site seems to have lost the proper URL for the SCARS reviews. I did a quick google search for author / topic -


Can't seem to find the other review tho.

(OT now...you bastards should have told me how physically *hard* this aikido business can be!! I swear I nearly vomited 3 times in class today. Throw- fall down- get back up. x1000. URRP :eek:


01-14-2003, 04:55 PM
It looks sloppy, and many of the movements have the defender off balance. Then again, most soldiers will never ever have to use h2h techniques in a battle. And if they do, all then have to do is get out of the way so one of their buddies can shoot the guy

01-14-2003, 05:05 PM
In 'battle', that's somewhat true Tim, although I can point to several examples where 'getting out of the way so your buddy can shoot him' was not an option. However, combat - at least to North American soldiers, is a very small part of what we do overseas.

Peacekeeping operations brings us into close proximity to plenty of people who don't want us there; remember, regardless of our intention, NATO or the U.N. are often thought of as invaders by many elements of the native population. We patrol, conduct mineclearing and escort functions, provide security, sieze weapons and disarm factions. The ability to control an attacker without causing harm is a very useful skill in these situations; where our task involves policing rather than combat.