S.C.A.R.S. Military

Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary Systems or S.C.A.R.S. is a martial arts fighting system/combative created by Jerry L. Peterson, based in part on his background in San Soo kung fu and from his personal experiences in the Vietnam War.

Currently marketed through private seminars and videotape. Initial presentation of SCARS to the Department of the Navy in 1988 led to its adoption into military use. From 1989-94 Peterson personally headed up the development and training of the SCARS programs as part of a BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) candidate course and produced SCARS qualified SEAL instructors.

While the SCARS Institute of Combat Sciences claims to have instructed the branches of the Army, Airforce as well as foreign governments and various law enforcement agencies, to what extent is unknown at this time.

According to official Naval Special Warfare documents obtained through the FOIA, stated on 03/03/98 that the Advanced NSW Combat Fighting Course (CFC) was recommended for cancellation due to the fact, “…that the 30-day. Advanced Combat Fighting Course was no longer utilized by the components; it has been 2-years since the course has been run. Generally, the components can’t lose someone for the 30-days that the course runs.”

Cancellation of the SCARS course was approved on April 17, 1998 by the Naval Special Warfare Commander, G.M. Moy, Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations. (FOIA document 1500 Ser N32/0293 17 Apr 98).

Criticisms: Within the martial arts community, Peterson and SCARS have been subject to no small amount controversy, having been variously accused of being unreliable, unrealistic, a hodgepodge, or simply a stripped-down version of San Soo.

Accusations have also been leveled at Peterson about sensationalistic and misleading advertising about SCARS, often involving how widely the system is and has been taught in the Navy. Yet there are many who defend Peterson and his system, such as Navy SEAL LCDR Mark D. Divine, former Navy SEAL Stew Smith and the combat experienced personnel of NAVSPECWARGRU ONE – CDR Erskine & CWO3 Hayden.

Approved By The United States Defense Department (CNET): The first officially approved hand to weapons system ever to set the standards and issue credentials of certification as a subject matter expert in Hand-to-Hand and Hand-to-Weapons combat to the United States Navy Special Warfare Command Center Group One and Two (SEAL Teams 1-8), and Special Operations Forces. ARMY, NAVY, AIRFORCE, MARINES.

The SCARS  is about physical and psychological warfare experts using 21st century science and technology to increase human performance to its highest possible level. This team consists of many dedicated and experienced people who are the absolute best at what they do.

The History of Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary Systems: The conception of SCARS began in real combat 1968-69 Vietnam  Jerry L. Peterson, then a soldier in the elite Army Reaction Force of the 173rd Airborne Charlie Company, found that the close combat training he had received was nearly useless against the grim realities of 20th century warfare. He and the soldiers in his unit were forced to learn close combat by trial and error, in a place where error meant death. He was convinced there had to be a better way to train for, and successfully execute, close combat.

The psychological development of the fearless mind-set process.  Jerry formulated concepts and theories that applied to human movement and psychological survival under do-or-die conditions. His early analytical and physical techniques worked, giving him the tools to survive numerous combat engagements. But Jerry wanted more, he wanted to know why the human species would be fearless one day and then frozen in fear another causing him or her to die? Mr. Peterson would discover and verify after 20 years of personal research that he had created a process to eliminate fear.

This meant the total destruction of fear in the human brain. Not controlling fear with over training or conquering fear with shear willpower, he simply removed it from the psyche of the human brain, accomplishing the first goal of human control, a fearless mind set. He knew that the mind controlled all body processes that would inevitably lead to life or death in a high-risk action.

Five questions that needed to be answered: The first side of the coin had been cast, which is a simple direct process that creates the most feared concept in any conflict, a human without fear, yet having compassion and understanding of his environment, the ultimate man. However that is only one side of the coin, what about the sciences of human movement? This area would prove no less daunting, but it had to be asked and then resolved:

    1) Why is one man’s fighting art form better than the other?
    2) Why does a professional fighter lose to someone with no trained skills?
    3) Why did the United States military not have a standard for controlling human violence in close combat?
    4) Why does every law enforcement agency have a different defensive tactic course?
    5) Why is there no science to human movement for a violent action?
    6) Why indeed- as we start the 21st century no one has a defined the scientific path to this much-needed science of human control. In this day and age law enforcement agencies still struggle to find a well-defined set of principles for human control in a violent action. Principles that will reduce liability decrease injury to the subject and increase safety for the officer.

1988: Jerry Peterson’s SCARS tested By United States Navy Special Warfare Command (SEALS). SCARS officially approved and implemented as the standard for close combat by U.S. Special Operational Forces: To date, Jerry Peterson is the only individual ever to have established a proven set of principles based in modern sciences.

His credibility received the attention of the United States Navy Special Warfare Command at Coronado, Calif. (US Navy SEAL headquarters). The Special Warfare Department of the Navy begin contracting Mr. Peterson and his corporation (SCARS Institute Of Combat Sciences) in 1988 to develop a program that would universally apply both physiological and physical fields of CQB (Close Quarters Battle).

Between November 1988 and February 1989 Mr. Peterson and the US Navy began testing the SCARS project with combat veterans within the SEAL ranks. The Navy was restricted to combat veterans that had either real world hand to hand combat and/or advanced training in any form of fighting art [martial arts]. After three months of physical testing the Navy agreed that SCARS had proven beyond a shadow of a doubt not to stem from a style of (Martial Arts). SCARS is 100% effective in all CQB actions. This system could possibly be the standard for hand-to-weapons combat for the US Navy Special Warfare Command Department (SEALS).

In March 1989 the Navy and Mr. Peterson agreed that further development and testing was warranted. The Navy agreed not to divulge any information on the SCARS project to the public. Mr. Peterson also agreed not to release any mission specific information about the training & SCARS. Should SCARS be given official sanction and approval by CNET, (Command for Navy Educational Training) limited statements could then be released. Doing this allowed Mr. Peterson’s SCAR-system to be tested in every condition of combat and/or police action that may arise in the world for which the military may be used.

Around April 1989 the Department of the Navy officially contracted Mr. Peterson and his corporation to began further development of the SCARS program.

The SCARS project was tasked with four main objectives:

  • Develop and implement a basic hand-to-weapons program for the Basic Underwater Demolition School (BUDS).
  • Develop and implement a platoon combat course for qualifying platoon deployment.
  • Develop and implement a combat ready course for Special Boat Units.
  • Develop and implement a Force Multiplier program to certify U.S. Navy SEALS as subject matter experts in the field of hand-to-weapon combat, both in non-lethal and lethal use of force.

From 1989-94 Mr. Peterson personally headed up the development and training of the SCARS programs. After 5-1/2 years of development and testing of SCARS by the Special Warfare Command the US NAVY SEALS received official approval from the Navy Department of Education CNET. This was the first time in history of the US Navy that a hand to weapons system had officially been approved as a standard of combat.

After official approval of all of the SCARS programs Mr. Peterson licensed the Navy to conduct the SCARS Force Multiplier Train the Trainer Program. (To this date Mr. Peterson has restricted all licenses to certify subject matter experts in the SCARS system of sciences solely to the US Special Operation Community. There are only two places to receive this official information. One is in the US Special Operation Community. The other is at the SCARS Institute Of Combat Sciences in Phoenix AZ.)

Shortly after the SCARS/CFC (Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary Systems Combat Fighting Course) was officially implemented. The US Navy West-coast command requested a SCARS military demonstration.

The SCARS program was presented to The United States Secretary Of State, the Commanding Four Star General of the US Army, the Secretary of the Navy and other political personnel, all gave their overwhelming approval of the program.

From 1993-to present this program has produced over 300 SCARS subject matter experts in the field of non-lethal and lethal hand-to-weapons action. (No military SCARS instructor can teach the SCARS program outside of the military.)