The history of Close Quarters Defense (CQD®) begins with Mr. Dieter’s initial martial arts education, which started at age 15, leading him to train diligently under multiple instructors in various systems.
As Mr. Dieter broadened his experience, he deeply appreciated the skills he had learned, but recognized that many of the components were more choreographed and/or sport based, lacking the intensity and capability of a motivated adversary with criminal intent. When he had to utilize these skills in defense situations, the techniques did not apply.
In 1980, Mr. Dieter served on a local police department, which allowed him to experience the various duties of law enforcement, as well as the techniques and tactics taught. He witnessed similar, unrealistic methods being utilized in training, in preparation for criminal attacks, as well as apprehension and arrest. Mr. Dieter also recognized that the firearms training introduced further inconsistencies and contradictions to these methods. Their skills were more focused on target or sport shooting and were not applicable under stress, relevant to the high-risk engagement, nor did they integrate with unarmed techniques. This prompted him to train more extensively, travel to numerous schools and camps, enter competitions, and earn several black belts. Significantly influenced and encouraged by a dear friend, he continued his search, traveling throughout the Eastern United States. Mr. Dieter then traveled to the East Asia, the birthplace of systemized martial arts, to find a master who could answer his questions and teach him the skills of the high-risk fight. He sought a mentor who was not only a good fighter but also a man of integrity who lived his life with honor.
His quest led him to Hong Kong, Okinawa, and Taiwan. After studying with several different senior instructors, he found that, though very challenging and rewarding, as well as culturally enriching, the training lacked the high-risk focus that he desired. Finally, an elder master with a very rich lineage and remarkable martial history, who understood Mr. Dieter’s quest, told him, “What you’re looking for does not exist. You must develop it yourself. It must be your purpose.”
Upon returning to America in 1981, Mr. Dieter continued to train and teach martial arts, earning additional black belts and achieving advanced degrees in those previously earned, while privately beginning the process of developing the CQD System. The critical component during this initial period was his creation of the Hooded Box™, which validated in a short period of time that his CQD skills were significantly different from his past training. He coined the term Training Scars™ to signify the infractions that occurred under stress by training in both operational and nonoperational skills. He recognized that the specificity and focus of the life and death fight demanded his complete dedication and attention. Mr. Dieter then completely removed himself from his previous training and exclusively committed himself to the CQD System. To guide him throughout this nine-year development and help him remain steadfast to what he envisioned, Mr. Dieter established numerous tenets, a few of which include:
The system must be designed for the high-risk fight
When skills are used, they must be justifiable and used with appropriate force control in all situations.
All unarmed and armed skills must integrate with no contradictions.
All skills must be accountable and sustainable.
Tactics and techniques must be validated under realistic pressure of the fight.
Skills must be effective in every situation and environment, both in personal defense and professional operations.
As the system evolved, Mr. Dieter knew that these skills should only be utilized with conscience, purpose, and for lawful and righteous reasons. He also recognized the inherent value, capability, and advantages that the CQD skills provided. Therefore, he undertook various measures to keep the techniques private and out of the hands of criminals or those who would use the skills inappropriately.
CQD was first utilized operationally when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents recruited Mr. Dieter as a member of the newly formed Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, which was investigating cocaine trafficking on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He was locally deputized by the Talbot County Sheriff’s Department (and later by the Caroline County Sheriff's Department) and federally deputized by the DEA. Using the CQD System to fight the drugs that degraded his community, Mr. Dieter worked with a variety of local and federal agencies in training, surveillance, intelligence gathering, search warrant service, room entry, raid planning, debriefing and controlling confidential informants, and high-risk felony arrests. He was also actively involved in patrol, undercover operations, SWAT, and VIP/Informant Protection. During this time, he also served as a Reserve Officer for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Due to Mr. Dieter’s involvement, knowledge and reputation within the community, many of the cases succeeded due to the community’s willingness to support and provide him with information.
The force control elements inherent in CQD served Mr. Dieter well. During many dangerous and violent encounters, not one person whom Mr. Dieter had trained on the task force was injured, nor was any suspect. He received numerous awards and commendations for his achievements including the following: the DEA’s outstanding contribution in the field of drug enforcement; Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for meritorious achievement; The Talbot County Narcotics Task Force’s Appreciation of Service while serving on the Caroline County Task Force; and the Easton Police Department’s Distinguished Service Award in the field of drug enforcement, community dedication, and tactical expertise.
Through Mr. Dieter’s involvement in the violent world of drug enforcement, he witnessed firsthand the devastating effect of drugs on families, especially children. This brought him to the realization that although law enforcement is critical, it is only one part of what is needed to fight this problem. Keeping this in mind, in 1990, Mr. Dieter founded the Hero Community Program to help youth learn good morals and inner confidence. His primary concern in creating the program was the safety of these vulnerable children, at risk to the peer pressure and drug use that was so prevalent in their area. For his involvement in this very significant effort Mr. Dieter received numerous awards, including: Congressional Recognition for commitment and dedication to the community and the Governor’s Citation for significant contribution to the community.
By the end of the nine-year period, Mr. Dieter had developed the CQD System as a fully operational and integrated system, organized into Six Divisions, with ten levels and twenty weeks of training. CQD encompasses all aspects of tactical defense, from unarmed, armed, personnel and suspect control, shooting, internal development and ethos training, physical exercises and conditioning, into a Full Circle approach to the individual and team’s tactical capability. The efforts undertaken in developing CQD resulted in a more efficient and effective way to defend against a motivated attacker, while utilizing the appropriate levels of force. Ultimately, the system was adopted by some of our nation’s most elite military and law enforcement personnel, and Mr. Dieter personally utilized these skills in numerous high-risk situations while attached to multiple federal agencies, both domestically and abroad.