TFT origins of atemi-jutsu

TFT origins of atemi-jutsu

Tim Larkin teaching TFT in Sydney, Sep 2008

Tim Larkin was excluded from SEAL training in San Diego through injury. He was subsequently tasked with sourcing the best close quarters combat system he could find. He introduced Jerry Peterson’s SCARS training into the SEALs.

After leaving the military he repackaged the information for civilian use as Target Focus Training (TFT). He continued presenting it to military and law enforcement agencies as well as the general public.

He and others, like long-time collaborator Chris Ranck-Buhr of Injury Dynamics in San Diego, have been refining the presentation and practise ever since. As far as I can tell the only difference between the military and civilian training is that the military are presumed to be armed as part of their job and the civilians are not.

If you look at the TFT website with an Australian viewpoint you will likely think it’s a scam. But it’s just their promotional strategy for the US market. I don’t get it myself. A big part of the TFT business is selling instructional DVDs. There is nothing wrong with buying the DVDs. It’s just that it’s a whole lot easier to learn when you have multiple training partners and an instructor in the same room.

If you read about TFT on bullshido and other ‘martial art’ forums you will find lots of criticism. As far as I’m aware, none of those critics has ever done any significant TFT training. There is no counter-argument because the nice people at TFT and Injury Dynamics conscientiously don’t respond to online criticism. They think their time is better spent training. I think it’s a great policy.

You’ll also find accusations that Tim Larkin is a liar and a fraud who was never a SEAL (it’s true, he wasn’t and never claimed to be, see above) and stole Jerry Peterson’s SCARS program (likewise, see above). I had the opportunity to do a live training weekend with Tim in 2008 and through Mike Allen got to hang out with him a number of times. For what it’s worth he seemed like a really decent guy to me. He was very up-front, positive and encouraging.

We don’t use the TFT brand for a number of reasons but our Save the Day program replicates TFT live training as precisely as possible. Mike Allen is our senior instructor in atemi-jutsu and he is currently the only active accredited TFT instructor in Australia.