Among the more than 120 free seminars and ticketed workshops at this year’s NRA Carry Guard Expo in Richmond, Va., will be two presentations by ex-CIA personal protection expert Steve Tarani. For an eye opening protective intelligence briefing that will change the very way you look at the world and what you can do to protect yourself and your family, check out his free seminar on Current and Emerging Threats: How it Affects You! For a more in-depth and hands-on instructional course, don’t miss his Dynamics of Personal Defense workshop that will teach three critical components needed to control any physical altercation, how to immediately gain the tactical advantage against single or multiple attackers, and how to get yourself and your loved ones out of harms’ way and to safety unharmed. Gain the skills and confidence you need to defend against a real-world active threat at this easy-to-learn, professional training workshop.
Learn more about Steve Tarani below, and make plans to join him at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, September 14, for the Dynamics of Personal Defense workshop. No previous skills or experience are needed, but participants must be over 18 years of age. Tickets are $75 each—click here to purchase yours today!
Q & A WITH STEVE TARANI
Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did your interest and expertise start and how did you get to where you are in your field today? I started off in the world of exotic martial arts, edged weapons, impact weapons and flexible weapons. I spent about six or seven years doing full-time—roughly 30-50 hours per week—intensive training for Filipino martial arts. I then travelled to Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia for total emersion training. During this period, I also worked as a reserve deputy for a sheriff’s office. That’s where I first gained experience responding to calls and learned about bad things that happen to good people in the real world. It was also the beginning of my firearms training.
From there I went on to become a federal contractor working as an advisor and hard skills instructor. I worked for every three-letter federal agency you can think of, including the FBI, DEA and CIA, where I became deeply ensconced in the United States defense intelligence community.
Soon thereafter I signed on the dotted line with the CIA and, after completing the clearance process, entered service as a full-time active employee working in Protective Programs. Since I separated from the CIA about seven ago, I have provided both operational and training services in the private sector, maintaining my strong support of the U.S. defense intelligence community.
Describe your experience in the role of teacher, trainer, mentor, or instructor. What have you learned about the community and lifestyle associated with personal protection? Teaching professionally since the late 1980s I’ve literally taught folks from SOCOM to soccer moms and everyone in between. Having worked for numerous federal and state agencies as a hard skills instructor and as a protective services subject matter expert, I’m often asked to speak or write about hand-to-hand and hand-to-gun training. But going to hands or going to guns represents only 10 percent of what I call the “Personal Security Solution.”
Personal security is 90 percent situational awareness, or what we call “soft skills” in the defense intelligence industry. Outside the military and comparable specialty operations, the number of times we use our soft skills far outnumbers the usage of our hard skills in the real world. If you’re not a cop, think about the last time you needed to stop a threat using your firearm or the last time you were in a car chase or the last time you were in a face-in-the-dirt, drag-down, knock-out hand-to-hand knife or fist fight. Now compare this to the number of times you used your situational awareness to notice a potential threat or something didn’t quite smell right so it got your attention. The differential is what I’ve learned as a lifelong student: soft skills matter and in most instances outweigh the application of your hard skills.
When and how did you first become familiar and involved with NRA Carry Guard? Having been speaking at the NRA Annual Meetings for years, last year I was asked if I’d be interested in doing the same for the NRA’s first personal security expo—NRA Carry Guard Expo—and I said yes!
How does it fit into your overall support of the NRA and the Second Amendment? In my humble opinion, it is incumbent upon all law-abiding Americans who choose to exercise their constitutional Right to Bear Arms, to do whatever is in their power to AVOID the usage of a firearm at all costs, unless there is NO OTHER solution. Soft skills always have been, and always will be, a part of any personal security solution. Ask any U.S. Secret Service agent how many times they use their soft skills versus their hard skills—like firearms marksmanship—on the job, and I would venture the answer to be “most of the time.”
What was your favorite part of being at the inaugural NRA Carry Guard Expo last year in Milwaukee? It was a fulfilling adventure, and what really got my attention was how enthusiastic attendees were at the training events! Many people today are concerned about their own personal security and that of their loved ones, and this expo is a venue where you can learn directly from protection professionals and take those skills home with you.
What do you find is one of today’s biggest threats to personal safety or individual freedoms? To be frank, I believe the biggest threat is training, or, more accurately, lack thereof. With freedom comes tremendous responsibility. Most people who are concerned about their personal security might simply buy a gun and, in the words of Clint Smith, “consider it a lucky rabbit’s foot that they believe will ward off all evil.” They may receive zero training and not know how to safely handle it or even fire it if need be. If you choose to own a gun you MUST train with it—extensively. Failure to train can end up only in disaster. The long-term repercussions of gun owners failing to train, I believe may result in the erosion of those freedoms.
Can you share a story of how your training has directly impacted your life or the life of someone you’ve taught? As a professional instructor for more than three decades and having taught literally tens of thousands of students, I have been fortunate to have received tremendous feedback from many who have told me, “Hey, I used what you taught me in class and it saved me and/or my partner!” Empowering others is the most fulfilling reward you can possibly receive as an educator—it’s exactly the reason I do what I do. Everyone has a calling, and mine is to personally harden every law-abiding American… even if I must do it one American at a time!
What is a simple, but perhaps overlooked, aspect of personal protection that you recommend everyone consider? As I’ve mentioned, soft skills—including situational awareness and application of that awareness to your immediate environment!
Tell us the top three reasons to attend your seminar or workshop at NRA Carry Guard Expo this year in Richmond, Va. Reason 1: There are two types of people in this world—those who are prepared and those who are unprepared for an active threat. Only the prepared are trained. Only the prepared have any semblance of a chance to prevail when it hits the proverbial fan.
Reason 2: Bad things happen to good people all the time—most of which never make the national news. Yes, it may never happen to you in your lifetime, but if it ever did, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have even the most basic of skills in your back pocket to handle it?
Reason 3: If you are concerned about your personal security and that of your family, with or without a gun, what is the downside to learning how to identify and/or avoid an active threat and know exactly what to do in the event you find yourself in one?
More about Steve Tarani Steve Tarani is a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) protective programs educator and formerly on staff at the US Dept. of Energy (DOE) National Security Institute (Security Force Training Dept.) at Kirtland Air Force Base (NM). Steve has served the U.S. Defense, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence communities for over 25 years as a respected subject matter expert and today remains a federal contractor, active protective services agent and an adviser to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). He is FLETC certified and has been on staff at Gunsite Academy for 20 years. Additionally, he is the published author of eight books.