Todd group Auckland intensive CQB course of instruction

June 17 to 23 saw the first week-long intensive course of instruction conducted out of SpecForce facility Auckland.

The Todd group begun conducting CQB training in the Auckland area in the early 1990s at Papakura and now has an Auckland Central headquarters facility running out of SpecForce 9 Karaka Street off of Upper Queen Street and depot instructors nationally and internationally.

The owner of SpecForce Scott Cottier a former military PTI and I met through my military CQB instructing.

SpecForce is a very different physical fitness training facility to other gyms in the sense that members are taken for physical fitness group training military style.

The Todd group and SpecForce working relationship really does work well with one providing practical proven effective physical training and the other providing proven practical primary military unarmed combat and self-defence training.

The facility attracts serious committed members including many current or intending service personnel looking for service specific training or preparation for passing service physical fitness joining testing.

The Todd group and SpecForce are very proactive in setting and maintaining standards including the recruiting of responsible candidates .The Todd group joining instructions are very definite with application requirements in relation to all applicants meeting the stringent responsible citizen requirements.

The attendees on the recent course were a good bunch of lads committed to self-improvement.

They understand the requirements and responsibilities of being a Todd group member and how membership is a privilege and not a right.

The training team are extremely vigilant in relation to behaviour and any behaviour or attitude traits that are not befitting a CQB proponent will result in firm fair and uncompromising character adjustment.

Serious breaches will result in removal from immediate training suspension and can see the individuals membership revoked.

Setting and maintaining standards are values that both the Todd group and Spec Force insist upon in character attitude and performance.

The Todd group service courses of instruction are intensive 1 to 3 week courses where candidates live CQB day and night.

The Todd group civilian courses that also include service personnel are conducted in the same manner.

The SpecForce courses include six full days of training and often included evening related lectures and training concluding with a day seven phase 1 test.

This course of instruction had residential and non-residential members in attendance.

Having our own annex adjoining the main gym with segregated phase 1 and phase 2 training areas was convenient and meant training was conducted without any interference or unauthorised observers.

Having senior phase 3 Todd group members instructing on course ensured exponent’s received excellent instructor to exponent ratios and the best of training.

Visitors from various services organisations and companies dropped in to say hello regularly and support and endorsed the conducting of Todd systems training at SpecForce.

The week commenced with instruction of all the foundation combative fundamentals of the Todd systems phase 1 package.

The emphasis on day one was the individual exponent’s selection of primary unarmed offensive assault options and the practice of immediate putdowns and takeout’s utilising the individual’s personally selected primary options.

By day two the unarmed counter offensive assault instruction had begun which led to exponents being able to test unarmed offensive assault against unarmed counter offensive assault.

As the week went on and proficiency increased the intensity of practice was raised.

The reality of military unarmed combat practice with no protective equipment requires proficiency controlled aggression target selection and attention to detail with the minimal safety tradecraft practices as part of the equation.

The Todd group insist on training the way they will operate that being without cumbersome unrealistic protective suits that are prone to masking the exact position of joints and bodily vitals over correct fitting battle dress. They also waste training with suiting up and taking off such equipment.

If combatants in training cannot stand the rigours of unarmed combat without Superman suits how will they ever endure a close quarter’s combat actions on encounter with a formidable adversary.

Confidence is developed by inoculation to the specific threat to the point where the intensity is increased from an enabling level to high-intensity close to combative operational levels.

The safeguards or safety tradecraft practices are minimal and all employed training and testing applications will achieve the same target drop outcomes and end results as with lethal employments objective achievement minus the loss of life or limb.

Exponents on the phase 1 course worked well individually and together in the pursuit of combative self-improvement in CQC skills as well as the self-defence requirements and the toughener and sickener phases of training.

Being able to utilise the substantial main gymnasium for military CQB drills training including technique to command and the brain to boot psychological conditioning exercises was an asset.

The phase 2 course of instruction worked steadily away at learning the advanced CQB package modules including ground combat which is very different from ground fighting when you take into account the primary applications involve armed employments or the use of terrain or terrain available improvised weapons.

Tactical control and restraint as taught to specialist military services and police units is another module instructed on the phase 2 course of instruction along with multiple armed and unarmed enemy pers, battlefield takedowns, strangulation and choking military style and advanced urban and battlefield self-protection skills.

Residential exponents were well taken care of by Spec Force being messed in and enjoyed the advantage of no travel pre or post training.

Personally I never left the premises until day six and when I wasn't involved with instructing or after hours training I was focusing on my CQB projects.

This environment is completely beneficial to combative training and far removed from weekly attendance casual attendance training.

Before we knew it day seven had come around and the phase 1 test was underway.

The phase 1 test always achieves very different outcomes to the prior days training practice and preparation as the candidates deal with the self-induced realities of testing.

From an instructors perspective the final practice the day before the test phase always appears to achieve better outcomes and higher levels than the test phase day itself.

Eight candidates accepted the challenge to undergo the phase 1 test with four passing.

All eight candidates showed considerable intestinal fortitude and skills levels ranging from average to excellent across all tested modules.

The reality is candidates must surpass the required standards in all tested modules as the standard will never be lowered.

When a candidate fails to achieve the required objective in any module they are removed from the test phase.

The Auckland intensive course of instruction phase test candidates all showed they possess high levels of skill and inner resolve and I'm sure those that did not achieve a pass on this occasion will only be more motivated to self-improvement and achieving the objectives in the near future.

If it was easy everyone would be doing it and achieving the requirements. Military close quarter’s combat actions on encounters where the realities of sudden aggressive shock action and the employment of dirty and deadly neutralisation skills are the reality require us to train proponents for such realities and as such there is no allowance for anything less.

This requires very different principles tactics and skills from traditional or sporting practices that have their own methods of proficiency and excellence achievement relevant to the specific art or combat sports code and their rules regulations and objectives.

It's not for everyone but certainly does appeal to the realist that is more interested in occupational or operational skills over traditional arts or combat sports.

WW11 combative experts Charles Nelson and Harry Baldock alike agreed that unarmed combat and self-defence can be for life whereas many fighting arts and combat sports are for the young and high-performance participants.

This course of instruction has proved to be very successful and will be followed up by weekend courses of instruction for the remainder of this year and another week-long course of instruction in 2013 at SpecForce.

Courses training depot’s and instructors contacts can be found at

Weekly training is conducted at Spec Force and more information can be obtained from John [email protected]

John also provides Todd systems CQC, self-defence and tactical control restraint individual tuition training at SpecForce by appointment.

Post course exponent reviews.

CQC phase 1 course.

I DB an electrician located in Auckland attended this CQC phase 1 course with little to no martial arts training. I found the skills taught on the course to be practical and worthwhile. The instructors were fantastic set clear expectations of the standard required. I would like to say thank you to Tank and instructors for the time and effort spent teaching me, also thank you to spec force gym for the use of the excellent facilities.


The course and instruction in the Auckland 2012 CQB one-week course was excellent thank you.



My name is RR and at present I work for a government department in Wellington.

Having only been in Wellington since December 2011 and having met Tank way back in 2002, I thought it about time I commit some serious hours to CQB.

After training with a great bunch of dudes in the Hutt Valley the opportunity to attend the phase 1 course in Auckland presented itself.

The last six days have been awesome and the phase 1 students have been committed and very easy to get along with. Day one a few nerves filled Spec Force gym however nerves were soon exchanged for a great resolve to get the moves down pat, project controlled aggression, take a few knocks and listen attentively to the instructors and Tank as their experiences and knowledge were freely shared.

I would like to say that the level of instruction was outstanding John,Bricy and Gus were very professional and know their “S*it”. I personally would like to thank them for their commitment to the phase 1 course, for their patience when I had not a clue how to execute a move and for their injection of humour just when I needed it.

Finally, every now and then you meet a person who has more passion for a subject than anyone you know.

Who has a dedication and commitment second to none and lives breaths and “S*its” a subject as a way of life, well for me Tank Todd is that person.

His commitment to the phase 1 course, and his knowledge, and integrity must be commended. His dedication to CQB globally is awe inspiring. I can see why John, Bricy and Gus can instruct so well when they have a CQB role model named Tank Todd.

Thanks Tank, you and your instructors have taught me many things during this week for which I am grateful.



CQB phase 1 course.

Coming into the course I felt it would be a challenge for me to get into my mentality “ take out, not take on” as I have come from a sport fighting background. I was in search of my ‘switch”, in which I can turn on if ever confronted by a formidable enemy wanting to take me out.

After days of learning fast one-second take-out techniques and contingencies I feel more competent and confident in my ability to defend myself.

Tank and the instructors made it clear on what has to be done and what to do in a combat situation.

With a mix of physical training, mental conditioning and real world simulations the course gives gives a taste of what unarmed military combat is about. It's F***ing awesome.

Thanks to Tank, Bryce, John, Gus and fellow exponents. What an awesome week.




Tank Todd CQB phase 1: Auckland June course (17/06/12- 23/06/12)

First of all, I would like to say thank you to Geoff, who gave us the opportunity to participate on phase 1 course in Auckland. It helps participants like us to undertake the phase test in the middle of the year. So now, we have two occasions in the year to participate in intensive phase 1 training in New Zealand.

My impression of the course was any average person can partake in this military close combat training as long as they can understand what ‘military’ means. I'm not saying you have to be ultra-fit to do things like boot camp fitness exercises.

What I mean is trainees should have reasonable understanding of the real life threat situations. Situations that can be ugly and it can be painful or worse. If any realists are interested in this course, I recommend it.

The course itself is very concentrated; you will learn heaps and it will enlighten you.

Instructors were good and always helpful.

Anything I was unsure about, the instructors explain to me with clear knowledge.

I liked the course structure and would like to continue to attend Tank Todd CQB courses in the future.



Hi Tank

Friday 22nd June 2012

Firstly many thanks to you for putting on an awesome week of training and to Specforce for hosting us. The week long phase 1 course was excellent, building up the whole phase 1 curriculum from the foundations, allowing us to develop and improve our skills and help to eliminate some bad/old habits and the like. The instructors on hand to help train us and improve our techniques were excellent and provided good, clear tutorage. The course has helped me to develop strengths in my CQB skills, helped me to eliminate some existing weaknesses and showed me areas of my skill base that require further work. Overall the group of guys was awesome, the week was fantastic and I look forward to attending further CQB courses.

Many thanks


Anyone wanting to undertake professional physical fitness training is well advised to contact Scott and the team at SpecForce and experience the benefits rewards and differences.

Article written by Tank Todd

Special Operations CQB Master Chief Instructor. Over 30 years experience. The only instructor qualified descendent of Baldock, Nelson, and Applegate. Former instructors include Harry Baldock (unarmed combat instructor NZ Army WWII), Colonel Rex Applegate OSS WWII and Charles Nelson, US Marine Corps. Tank has passed his Special Forces combative instructor qualification course in Southeast Asia and is certified to instruct the Applegate, Baldock and Nelson systems. His school has been operating for over eighty years and he is currently an Army Special Operations Group CQB Master Chief Instructor. His lineage and qualifications from the evolutionary pioneers are equalled by no other military close combat instructor. His operation includes his New Zealand headquarters, and 30 depots worldwide as well as contracts to train the military elite, security forces, and close protection specialists. Annually he trains thousands of exponents and serious operators that travel down-under to learn from the direct descendant of the experts and pioneers of military close combat. Following in the footsteps of his former seniors, he has developed weapons, and training equipment exclusive to close combat and tactical applications. He has published military manuals and several civilian manuals and produced DVDs on urban self protection, tactical control and restraint, and close combat. He has racked up an impressive 100,000+ hours in close combat.