Why did they choose Mar? “There were maybe 300 other people that either approached the educational training staff or were approached by them,” says Mar. “Taiwan is one of the free world’s martial arts camps, there are so many different styles that are available. I demonstrated hundreds of times before they finally said, ‘OK, we like it.” “My strengths came in three parts,” continues Mar. “One; for me it was a matter of strict interest, I wasn’t doing it because I needed this opportunity to promote myself, it wasn’t a career choice for me—for the Chinese mind, if you have interest, you don’t have ulterior motives, and no political or intra-agency agenda. Two; I was not, at that time, already part of the military or the police, so they thought I could accepted by all camps in an authority position. This was due to an attitude situation in dealing with the Chinese—they would not necessarily have accepted someone from their ranks to be their instructor in a specialized task force (as there are 400-500 certified law enforcement instructors around the island. And, three; they felt that what I was offering was in many ways a traditional martial art (yet exclusive to Law Enforcement). The system I teach, Antagonist Perpetrated Aggression (APA), is very high-speed Combat Tal Chi – a lost component of this Internal System.” Beyond his abilities, according to Mar, the ROC government wanted something that was unavailable to the common man, so it made perfect sense for them to look outside of the boundaries of what’s in-country.
In Taiwan, all males are required to serve in the military, for at least two and sometimes three years. A large part of their military training is hand-to-hand combat (the armed forces learn Tae Kwon Do, a Korean art—primarily because the government felt that it was the easiest to learn and apply, immediately), posing a problem for civilian police enforcement when these trained fighters assimilate back into society. Explains Mar, “Marines have the best Tae Kwon Do on the island, the M.P.’s have the best grappling and control moves and the Officer’s Training School has the best judo. What happens after the mandatory military service if some of these guys become criminals? What happens if the policeman, who has six months of training (if he’s lucky), meets the guy who’s been training for seven years? He’s going to be much ahead of any kind of police training the officer has. So we try in a very short amount of time to enable tactical police officers to take the percentage away from this guy who has been training. He is going to want to spar with the officer to get the opportunity to knock him out with a roundhouse. The Last thing we want is for our police officers to get into a fighting match, we want an instant take- down, instant results.” So, given the situation in Taiwan, Mar took the system he was already using and developed it into the APA system—a secret system that is only taught to police, SWAT teams and the occasional special group. “If I’ve got something only police officers know, and you come up with your kick, I might be able to take you out in a couple of seconds.
I’m very strict. Where there is an opening, I will take my shot,” says Mar with a slight smile. He obviously enjoys his work, and adds, “I’ve got basically free application for force.” Because of the time constraints, the training has to be very intense. The police and SWAT trainees are put into training situations packed with stress, and then the instructors see if they perform well. “You wouldn’t believe the kind of training that goes on!” Mar exclaims. “We work with plastic and rubber bullets and get shot in the face and bleed. I mean real heavy pressure situations — for example, you’re in a room with a group of terrorists (actually police officers) and you are the hostage. I’ve got a team of three guys outside and they’re going to come in and blow the terrorists away and you’re supposed to be alive when it’s over. This is all going to happen in seconds. Everybody knows that someone is going to come through that door in five seconds, and the terrorists have a gun to your head. How can this tactical team take them out and save your life? There is a way to do that. Our guys perform under pressure. If you’re not used to the pressure, you’re going to buckle under it. Let’s say you’re the hostage, and he’s criminal A. Criminal A has got you by the neck with a gun at your head. I peer around the corner angle, and then 1 come out and using psychology, say. ‘Don’t shoot, if you shoot your hostage your life’s not worth anything. Once you kill him you have no shield, so don’t shoot him.” As soon as you put the doubt in the guy’s mind about whether to shoot his hostage, and the moment you take the willingness to shoot the hostage away, boom, you take the shot. If the terrorist knew this tactic, he would duck behind his hostage and take shots at the officer coming in. Most criminals don’t do this—they stand there and say ‘Don’t shoot or I’ll kill him.”
Chris Mar is so sure of himself that he’s almost cocky. He rides a 750 Kawasaki Ninja, though a motorcycle this size is outlawed in Taiwan due to its large displacement. He enjoys the perks of training the police, and comments with a smile that he has a “Friend in every precinct.” When he recounts some of the stories of his encounters with doubters and challengers, he’s proud of his ability, and supremely confident of his system. “Every time I’ve used it on the streets,” says Mar, ‘It’s worked. I’ve had very good results,” On the other hand, however, he, is careful to couch that pride in mentions of the worth of every system—it’s just that his is the most applicable to the real-life encounters on the streets of Taiwan.’ So effective that Drug Enforcement Agency people are planning to begin training under him.
Is he ‘confident? Yeah. Sometimes hard to swallow? Yeah. But, despite the impression he leaves, there is a sense to him that there’s substance to what he is saying. It’s not just an act. He knows how to handle himself, and the ROC government (an unusually bureaucratic force in Asia) has entrusted him, an American citizen, to pass on those skills to their people, The entire combined fighting skills is under Chris Mar’s control.
That alone should be enough to convince anyone of his abilities, and the effectiveness of his system.
But then again, as Mar himself says, “It might all be bull. It’s up to you to decide.”
S.WA.T./ May '88