Griffin officer providing basic and advanced self-defense training

With reports of violent crime appearing to come from every place, even those once thought to be safe, such as schools and churches, many people find themselves wondering what they would do if faced with such a life threatening situation; would they be prepared with the knowledge and skill set necessary to defend themselves if the need arose? Those concerns may now be put at ease with the availability of self-defense training being provided by a veteran local police officer.

Tony Thomason, an 18-year veteran law enforcement officer and lieutenant with the Griffin Police Department, has founded Street Survival Tactics, which offers courses designed to provide the information and technical skills needed to give men and women the ability to protect themselves should they find themselves threatened by violent crime.

“We’re not fear mongers. Chances are you’ll not be attacked. However, we can’t predict that, so you need to be prepared,” Thomason said. “My goal is to educate the public to defend themselves – how to do it and when to do it. People too often do find themselves in horrific situations and they’re not prepared. They’re not armed and they don’t have the knowledge and skills to protect themselves.”

Describing Street Survival Tactics as “pro Second Amendment,” he said the training is multi-faceted.

“My philosophy is that an educated and well-armed public can be a safer public. I think the two go hand-in-hand. It’s foolish for people to just be armed. The question remains – who can I shoot, when can I shoot them and what happens after I shoot? When you become educated, we answer those questions, or we’ll give you the framework. We’ll answer all your what-ifs,” he said. “We can’t predict every situation and neither can the law. Using the framework we teach, you will have to decide.”

Thomason said the training is designed to suit anyone, from the most basic student who has never even held a firearm to those who may have some experience, but would like to expand their skills and knowledge.

“It doesn’t sound very romantic or TV-like, but your ultimate goal is to disengage and escape,” he said. “Some of the things people see are false. People may subconsciously believe that if they saw it on TV or the Internet, it must be true, but it may not be.”

If disengagement is not possible, Thomason said he believes individuals should be prepared to defend themselves by whatever means necessary.

In addition to the proper use and care of firearms, including their structure, functions and maintenance, participants will learn additional defensive skills.

“We actually teach some hand-to-hand combat. We believe that most working folks don’t have the time to attend a class multiple times a week for an extended period of time, such as the martial arts require, and most people don’t want to become cage fighters,” he said. “We aren’t teaching offensive maneuvers; we’re teaching them basically how to handle themselves defensively. The techniques we teach are easy to remember. We give them basic fundamentals on what parts of the body can be used as weapons and how to generate power or force with their bodies.”

Thomason said another key area of training is based upon the proper and legal use of force for self-defense, as well as what will occur afterwards.

“When something happens, until we can determine if it’s self-defense, you’re going to be investigated, possibly for a homicide. There will be a million questions asked, and that’s why we also teach people about the use of criminal defense attorneys, to protect their legal rights. We want people to know their Constitutional rights.”

To assist in that, Griffin lawyer Dwayne Singleton serves as staff attorney.

“They’ll learn about making the commitment to shoot – to evaluate the situation,” he said.

In addition to the most basic course, advanced training, which includes concealed carry laws and techniques, is offered. Other needs, such as responding to an active shooter, are offered for all ages, including students who are not of legal age to own firearms.

All supplies including eye and ear protection, weapons and ammunition are provided, with many various types of weapons available from small caliber handguns for beginning students to higher caliber weapons for the more advanced.

Several types of courses are available with descriptions and pricing listed at  For more information, visit the Street Survival Tactics Facebook page or call Thomason at 678-588-1021.

These courses are taught by the same instructors who train police and SWAT officers, utilizing the same gear and training methods.

“We just don’t feel like it is proprietary information,” Thomason said. “In fact, you may be one of our best allies in certain types of conflicts.”

Describing this undertaking as “a very expensive hobby,” he said at this time, his reward comes from the reaction he receives from his students.

“When they come in saying they’re scared to death and they leave feeling stoked, it’s a really great feeling,” Thomason said. Ω


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