Originally meant to provide US Navy Seals an effective system for combat, the Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System (also known as SCARS) aims to help people – particularly those in law enforcement – the ability to sufficiently debilitate oncoming attackers.

According to the training manual developed by the US Navy for teaching SCARS, it is “an educational system dealing primarily with the thought process in high risk areas of combat [meant to] increase an individual’s decision making skills in high stress areas of conflict“.

Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System (SCARS)

Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System SCARS
Young military soldiers practicing rope climbing during obstacle course at boot camp

Amidst the chaos of the Vietnam War, in 1967, a young man named Jerry L. Peterson volunteered to join the US Army to serve his country. As he spent two combat tours in the US Army 173rd Airborne Charlie Company, the curious soldier began to feel the futility of the close combat training he had received in relation to the harsh realities of real war.

During his time on the battlefield, Peterson and his unit noticed the immediate hesitation from soldiers and lack of usefulness the structured martial arts training had in combat. The more he went out, the more his desire to discover something different grew. From this observation, his curiosity for reactionary conditions to high stress conditions, and the concept of fear grew.

It is in the process of observing, analyzing, and researching for 20 years, Peterson eventually went onto create the SCARS program – a system primarily aimed at mitigating fear in the human brain.

Psychology & Physiology in Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System (SCARS)

Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System SCARS
Tyumen, Russia - September 22, 2012: Avanpost training center on preparation of school students for army. Miles of Fire festival of live history. Performance of special troops. Work against knife

Primarily centered around physiology and psychology, Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System do not make any effort into focusing on spiritual development, unlike many other martial arts out there. The program claims that by understanding the way the body reacts to pain and injuries, users can respond more efficiently to getting rid of immediate threats.

According to the SCARS official website, the SCARS is “the first system to use a purely offensive mindset throughout the entire use of the system.” Rather than worrying about how to defend yourself and end up freezing at the very moment of attack, Peterson’s program attempts to work on the root of the issue, aggressively mitigating the mind of fear during combat.

One of the main focuses of the SCARS training program is the ‘autokinetic reaction,’ a spinal reflex existent in all humans. When the body is struck in certain parts, the spine reacts automatically in different ways to help protect the body. For example, if there is an attack against an area below the solar plexus (near the abdomen or center of the body), the head will come forward as the body buckles.

For the Public Eye

Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System SCARS
Member of Navy SEAL Team also known as Taliban hunter with weapons

By the 90’s, the public was introduced to the SCARS program to help civilians better understand how to neutralize aggressive individuals, especially during a time when a rise in high school shootings was increasing.

From the 1980’s to the 90’s (comparing the number of noted incidents of high school shootings in the US), the 1990’s had roughly double the count from the 1980’s. Thus, by opening the SCARS program (of course, not in its entirety) to the public to view, educate, and learn from, it was believed that this could serve useful to fending off armed assailants.

In 2013, a book written by Blake Peterson was published informing people on the SCARS and using it as a foundation for teaching those with authority how to protect their youth from the increasing issue of gun violence. According to research, from 2013 to 2015, “160 school shootings [were identified] across 38 states. Nearly 53 percent of the identified shootings took place at K-12 schools, and 47 percent took place on college or university campuses.”

While there was initial success in the distribution of the videos, large schools and institutions were never created to teach SCARS, unlike other martial art styles. Instead, the SCARS program is mainly taught through private seminars, DVDs, and online training videos.

Officially approved by the US Department of Defense as a combat training school for US Special Forces, the program is highly intense and aims to help users “analyze threats and develop specific training programs that teach how to eliminate the threats ability to function.”

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