Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System

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Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System (symbol).png
Symbol for the S.C.A.R.S. program
Also known asSpecial Combat Aggressive Reactionary Systems
FocusCombat Fighting
Country of originUnited States United States
CreatorJerry L. Peterson
Olympic sportNo
Official websiteSCARS

Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary Systems (SCARS) is an American combat fighting system created by Jerry L. Peterson.[1]


SCARS is based on sciences of psychology, physiology, physical movement as well as research on the nervous system. SCARS was developed by Peterson after serving two tours in the US Army 173rd Airborne Brigade during the Vietnam War.[2] It was debuted in 1987,[3] and began to be taught to various military, law enforcement, and security units, such as the Arizona State police.[2] Currently, SCARS is taught through private seminars, larger scale contracts, online training and DVDs. It contains no defensive actions, as all checks against the enemy's kicks or punches are delivered as strikes to vulnerable nerves.

The program is based upon the idea that every human body reacts in the same way to specific injuries, and the program puts together various strikes to specific nerves, bones, and organs in order to debilitate an aggressive individual. The goal is to produce an "autokinematic reaction", creating a spinal reflex that happens in all humans.[2] If struck with kinetic force above the solar plexus, the upper body will react moving backwards. If struck below the solar plexus in the same way with kinetic force the body will buckle or the head will come forward. This reaction has nothing to do with pain, alhough it may hurt after the spinal reflex. It has everything to do with your spine reacting to protect your body. The three main elements of SCARS are geometry, physiology, and physics, and avoids the spiritual aspect that is prevalent in many martial arts. It focuses on immediate threat elimination and does not include an element of spiritual development.[4]

Government personnel training programs[edit]

SCARS manual cover

SCARS was initially presented to the Department of the Navy in 1988. SCARS Institute of Combat Sciences has developed training courses for the US Army and Air Force, as well as foreign governments and various law enforcement agencies.[3][5] For the first seven years the fighting system remained exclusively known to and practiced by government personnel. The program was taught via seminars, government contracts, and also the SCARS Institute of Combative Sciences, once known as "the most expensive school in the world".[4]

The US Navy developed a training manual for teaching SCARS to members of the Navy and SEALs. It states in its introduction that it was used as "an educational system dealing primarily with the thought process in high risk areas of combat" and meant to "increase an individual's decision making skills in high stress areas of conflict".[6]

Public education[edit]

In 1993 the company produced video programming to teach its techniques to the general public. Live seminars are also available to the public in which are taught reliable hand to hand, and hand to weapons combat techniques over the span of three days.[3] The remainder of the Navy program was not released to the public in the videos or otherwise. The videos were first distributed in 1993 as the most expensive collection of defense videos ever produced; however, they sold a large number of copies, and grossed $1 million in the first nine months. In 1999 a SCARS TV program was scripted and cast, though it was not produced.[2] Blake Peterson also published the book Attention! Teachers, Students and Parents! Survive the Unsurvivable! - What Science Tells Us About Fear, Self-Defense, School Shootings and Why Guns in Schools Might Not Be the Best Solution in 2013, using SCARS as the basis for teaching supervisory figures how to deal with the increasing gun violence in US schools.[7]

End of some S.C.A.R.S. courses in the Navy[edit]

Due to its length (taking men out of the field for 30 days), cancellation of some SCARS courses was approved on April 17, 1998 by the Naval Special Warfare Commander, G.M. Moy, Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations.[8] Former Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin claim the system was ineffective, though they never actually went through the program.[9] Currently, the Navy Special Warfare is transitioning into MMA inspired combat training.[10][11][12][13] However, Lieutenant Commander, John D. Porter of the United States Navy states in his thesis, in reference to the SCARS program, that "the offensive mindset is still taught today."[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Seth Lubove (October 15, 2001), "What if It's You?", Forbes, retrieved June 20, 2013
  2. ^ a b c d Borkland, Herb. "Forty Hours of SCARS: An Exclusive Look Inside the Worlds Most Expensive Self-defense Training". fightingarts.com.
  3. ^ a b c Adrienne Lee Bell (June 2000). "Fighting to Survive". Black Belt Magazine. p. 116. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "5,000 years of martial arts trial and error vs. the new science of SCARS". Black Belt /Reality Fighting. June 2004. pp. 50–52. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  5. ^ "S.C.A.R.S." MyKickBoxing. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  6. ^ "Trainnee Guide for Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary Systems (SCARS) Level I Instructor" (PDF). United States Pacific Fleet. April 1994. p. Section A. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  7. ^ Blake Peterson (2011). Attention! Teachers, Students and Parents! Survive the Unsurvivable! - What Science Tells Us About Fear, Self-Defense, School Shootings and Why Guns in Schools Might Not Be the Best Solution.
  8. ^ FOIA document 1500 Ser N32/0293 17 April 1998
  9. ^ "BJJ Combatives into the SEAL Teams" on YouTube
  10. ^ Myers, Meghann (6 April 2016). "SEALs now train like UFC fighters, but a lawmaker questions why". Navy Times. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  11. ^ Scarborough, Rowan (10 April 2016). "Navy SEALs' switch to MMA training spurs fight over new commander". The Washington Times. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  12. ^ Bissell, Timothy (25 July 2016). "Feature: Controversial MMA training causes rift in Navy SEALs program". SB Nation. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  13. ^ Hodge Seck, Hope (6 April 2016). "Lawmaker Raises Concerns about Navy SEAL Fighting Techniques". Military.com. Retrieved 6 November 2016.

External links[edit]