My second oldest daughter called me today with a horrifying phone call no mama wants to hear. “Mom, a guy is trying to break into my house! He is banging on the door and pushing against it!”
A month ago I wrote an article on AR Tactics in Charlotte NC about how that experience made room clearing and house safety bump up a higher notch on my priority list. Before that time we were banking on just self defense and firearms, not an actual plan per se.
That class mattered. The shoot house drill and the things I learned a week later mattered. This mattered. All this matters. Being able to execute quickly and efficiently matters. Having an ability to adapt and change with smart options if a plan goes awry matters. Taking steps to know what to do when your heart is racing and you are terrified wondering if you actually CAN protect your two small babies matters.
Ryan and I came home from Charlotte with a purpose. We talked about in the entire 14 hour drive home. He put that into practice while I was at ECQC by having the kids run intruder drills. With 7 kiddos that plan needs to be flawless especially knowing that nothing will necessarily go according to how we worked it out, but we can try and up our odds of survival. I talk to my older daughters constantly about what I learn in class and training weekends. I talk to them about my seminars and how they change with new knowledge. They are my sounding board for all my articles. I give them advice and things to look for when dealing with strangers, safety with children, and defending themselves and their home. When I had my shoot house experiences I told them about those too. I don’t know what other people converse over while drinking wine at home, but self defense is a rather common topic in our house.
If you are in a teaching/instructor position know this information trickles on. It’s passed and saves lives. Men and women come home from your workshop weekend or class and tell their loved ones what they gleaned and I am grateful for you.
I am eternally grateful for that time in the shoot house. I am grateful it put intruder situations in the forefront of my mind. I am grateful we talked about it so much as a family. I am grateful my daughter hesitated a few minutes before going to her car. I am grateful she listened to her gut telling her something was wrong. I am grateful my daughter immediately grabbed her babies and went to her back room. I am grateful she kept calm enough to call 911 first. I am grateful to that dispatcher who talked her through it. I am grateful for my daughter’s ability to see a license plate at the window which she was able to recite in detail. I am grateful she called me. I am grateful I knew enough to remind her to get her gun and barricade in her bedroom with the babies I am grateful that even though she was crying and scared she was able to safely get her gun and think. I am grateful she thought of access points in her room. I am grateful for my grandson who listened to his mom and even though he was hustled accidentally into the fridge while they were running to the bedroom he remained calm and asked immediately for his baby sister when he sat down in the shower. Gosh I am so grateful for those sweet babies. I am grateful for the Joplin Police Department’s quick response time. I am grateful for the sirens that scared the guy off the porch. I am grateful for that door he wasn’t strong enough to bust through. I am grateful the officer yelled through the door calmly to my daughter. I am grateful she waited until she saw it was the police before she put her gun up high on a shelf. I am grateful she told him she had a weapon. I am grateful he said, “Good.” I am grateful he was knowledgeable and compassionate to the situation that he angled himself properly with her gun in mind. I am grateful he was kind and understanding and assuring of all the things we have been taught. I am grateful the license plate matches description. I am grateful my son-in-law was able to race immediately home from his job to comfort his wife. I am grateful for his wit and steady tone. I am grateful for my happy/emotional/what if’s/scattered/on and off tears as I write this. I am grateful for my breath that keeps catching as I process this. I am grateful for Rodney Thompson at AR Tactics for thrusting that thought process to be imperative in my mind. I am grateful to Aaron Jannetti for sharing his knowledge in applying it to the civilian world. I am grateful for anyone that has poured into me on my personal protection journey. I am so so so so grateful it was passed on.
I am grateful the officer said, “you did exactly the right thing,” and I am grateful my daughter replied, “I called my mom.”
#reality #train #talktoyourfamily #drillwithyourkids #selfdefense #exactlywhy2ndisimperative #JoplinPD #intruder #thismamasheartwasracing #dontcomeatmewithyourantigunBS #awesome911dispatch #emotional #clearhead #awesomeresponsetime #grateful #grateful #grateful #grateful #grateful
When I first heard the name Fit To Fight it brought to mind Cross Fit. I imagined several buff dudes in a clean atmosphere benignly beating up on each other. After attending a workshop they hosted last fall I realized I was a teeny bit off in my imaginary assessment. Okay, a lot off…. They were described at that time as, “Wonder Woman Island,” and that is pretty damn accurate. When I had met several of their crew at EWO I was (still am) on a journey of how I viewed we should be teaching women’s self defense. After holding conversations with instructors and students there, I realized the holes that I had seen in WSD had not only been addressed with their program, but had been thoroughly thought through and fixed. To say I was impressed was an understatement. It is not just me either, several well known people in the industry have talked about what Fit to Fight has brought to the self defense world.
Wanting to know more about how they operate my husband and I loaded up our 12 passenger van with 7 kids, a dog, a cat, and sparring gear to spend the month of March at their Charlotte facility. We filled their kids classes up, because that’s what we do, and trained 5-6 times a week. Two of the weekends were special programs/workshops. The first was their Instructors Training Course which was three days of learning what they expected when being a coach and affiliate of Fit To Fight. If you wanted to train and teach at their gyms, this was a necessary three day course. They also supplemented it in with a 3 hour Multiple Attackers Seminar which I found incredibly informative and helpful. We finished the month with Unlisted (you can read my EIR on that here- ) and rolled back home, the month had gone by too fast.
What makes them special? What would make me want to go and live for a month in Charlotte, better yet, convince my spouse that we needed to uproot our family and lives and see what this was about?
Fit To Fight, formerly known as RHEK, a fun acronym that stands for Ryan Hoover’s Extreme Karate. Yeah….marketing has improved in the last few years, I have a feeling that is likely due to Amber…. Either way names aside, it is working and it is growing. Gym owners from all over the United States and other countries come to Charlotte, NC to become affiliates. Why? Because its effective and because a need was there and they filled it. Ryan, a black belt in Krav Maga Worldwide, is co author of their books Krav Maga for Beginners, Krav Maga for Women, and Black Belt Krav Maga. He took what was essentially over 200 moves from KM and broke them down. He threw out the impractical, essentially shrinking the quantity, while upping the quality and reps. It’s productive and essential and it works. What they teach ranges from your everyday weapons, knives, guns, and yourself. My older kiddos and I attended several of their Foundations classes during our month there. Right off the bat you are learning valuable things that will have you leaving that one class just a little safer than when you went in.
Social media wise Fit to Fight is a Krav Maga gym, but they are so much more. They run fitness classes, personal training, sparring courses, jiu jitsu, and weapons training. Everything you need to know just to start a self defense journey broken down so simply that their Foundations class is probably the most apt named course I have ever been a part of. Every instructor and gym owner seems to have explanation down to an art. Hell I watched Morgan break down a kick via flicking the mud off her shoe; the dawning, comprehension, and correction immediately afterward was impressive. Don’t get me started on her Husband Adolfo’s ballerina waves for arm drags…. “Don’t look at me…”
The biggest issue I have seen with women’s self defense is the lack of women. The people who need it most are not the ones that are going to walk into a gym for a little ground and pound. They are not looking to be in the UFC, finding time is always a factor, and the whole idea of learning to fight even in a self defense aspect is intimidating. Fit To Fight realized this so they adapted and changed. I mean how else to you go from RHEK to Fit To Fight… (gosh the next class I take under Ryan I will be shadowboxing for days…..)
At EWO I was surprised by the fact that there were just women attending in the first place, and not only that they could hold their own. Another thing noticed was how approachable each of them were. It is very common to find women in this industry that are cold and to be honest I think that sometimes the gym can create that roughness in order for them to survive that environment, but that’s a topic for another day.
There are people from all walks of life training at Fit to Fight, all levels of skill in martial arts. They can ease you in well by starting with a good heavy bag class (which by the way is a blast) and within a couple of years be nudged seamlessly into sparring in Sparology and rolling in Jiu Jitsu. I met several people who started out from either a position of fear or a position of not thinking they could even do martial arts. One of them received her black belt the weekend of Unlisted and it was an absolute privilege to watch her fight and claw her way to something she had worked so hard to achieve. This wasn’t a “for the feint of heart,” test either, it was three days of grueling drills, one I barely survived. Everyone starts somewhere and one of Fit to Fights monikers is “Everyone is Fighting Something.”
I cannot begin to describe the wide range of people that attend classes there. I have never seen a more diverse group. They have all ages, I am talking from 12-70, all different points in health, even mix of sexes in students as well as instructors, all races, all orientations; I have not seen such diversity anywhere else. I attended their Sparology class that was taught by tiny petite, Anya who was well respected for her knowledge by the many much larger men in her class. It is that exact way with all of the female and male instructors there. One of the Jiu Jitsu teachers is Riley Hoover, he is 18 and a wealth of information on all things JJ. Whereas some could write him off as being too young his maturity and knowledge place him at the top. Riley has absolutely no ego and has one of the best personalities of a person I have ever met. They all do, I met zero people with arrogance, just a desire to learn more.
To expand on the lack of ego I have met, trained with, and learned under at least six affiliate gym owners across the country because they were back at Charlotte to train in various seminars. I am not kidding when I say that every gym owner I met was amazing to work with, talk to, learn from, run ideas by, and just a general good person with an innate desire to help people become safer. They weren’t trying to sell me anything as an owner, I was just a person training with them in various things; that speaks so much about one’s character. The other part was how many of them were constantly in and out of the Charlotte studio. Their mindset was not that they HAD to travel there to maintain consistent training, they WANTED to be, and their intensity and love of what they do is catching.
A couple of days ago Fox 46 Charlotte showed up at Fit to Fights Grace Self Defense training seminar. The proceeds of this seminar went to Safe Alliance, a non profit that helps women coming out of abusive situations. The news crew was not asked to be there, in fact Fit to Fight did not know they were coming. They came because Fit to Fight is known as the top dogs for their self defense. The community recognizes them for being a safe and effective place for women to come and learn no matter where you are in your walk.
Fit to Fight, formerly RHEK (sorry couldn’t resist throwing that one in there again, I seriously want to see this in a neon sign somewhere…) has a mission statement of Question. Disrupt. Innovate. Inspire. Do.
And that’s exactly what they do. They adapt and grow and mix it all with a full fledge desire to help people become safer. As a person who writes about and has a driving passion for women’s self defense, this crew and affiliates are top notch. Check them out, they are likely near you. Also they have an awesome T-shirt I bought that says, “I will come at you like a 1000 coked up Mike Tysons….” What’s not to like?
“There is a tendency for men to teach self defense from their lens and statistically that’s not helpful. My job is to make her safer and her safer, not saying its not my job to make him safer, but that is easier.” Ryan Hoover
List of Fit to Fight Affiliates that I have met, got to know, trained with and trained under.
Note there are many instructors, I am only listing the ones I have taken a class or drilled with. I am sure the rest are just as awesome. Also this list is long so that is saying something about Fit to Fights quality and quantity. Must be doing something right.
Fit To Fight Charlotte, NC:
Morgan Salas- Instructor and Manager. The first person I ever met with Fit to Fight and it was a warm welcome. She teaches several classes at the Charlotte location as well as women’s only programs. I was able to witness the beneficial after effects from several gals I met there.
Adolfo Salas- Instructor. I was able to take a private lesson from him while there and he managed to cram quite a bit of essential and memorable things that were imperative. Loves to talk about and teach knives.
Anya Wallace- Instructor Sparology. Took several classes from her; she has a amazing ability to break down a kick when you don’t think you need the break down.
Riley Hoover- Instructor Jiu Jitsu. I think everyone who has been around Riley can agree that he is one of the best training partners to have. He is not pushy and always has a great attitude and a love for what he does.
Anthony Joseph- Instructor Jiu Jitsu. Anthony has the best personality for teaching women in jiu jitsu. It can be intimidating and Anthony is professional. He is kind and truly made me have a better love for it. I knew it was needed, I just didn’t enjoy it; he was able to drag that part out of me in a month.
Joe Manz- Instructor Kids Class, “Pride.” Well he dealt with my herd for a month so that is saying enough….. Joe is great with kids, he can maintain attention while teaching them something worthwhile. As a mom even I find that hard to do.
Ernest Owens- Instructor Foundations. He may not know this but he broke down footwork so simply on something I had been trying to work on for months. That one five minute blurb was game changing for me.
Tanja Owens- Instructor. Amazing training partner and amazing human. She and Ernest will both make you feel incredibly welcome and less stupid when you walk in.
Fit to Fight Gastonia NC:
Amber Stalinski- Instructor, Manager, General all around in everything BA. Amazing teacher and coach. She also runs classes, courses, seminars, and workshops at the Charlotte facility. She is kind, down to earth and is never too busy to answer any question I have thrown at her.
Endeavor Self Defense Hilliard, OH (basically Columbus)
Aaron Janetti- Owner. Incredible teacher. I have had the pleasure of working/drilling with him at EWO, learning from him in Unlisted, and then being his student in his Knife Control Concepts course. Awesome and uplifting human who coaches with absolute clear direction.
Brooke Hughes- Instructor. Earned her black belt while I attended Unlisted. She is a kind and awesome drilling partner for someone who thought their thumb was snapped off. We legit fought over a pistol on a queen sized bed in the shoot house, that makes us friends for life.
Mike Cheney- Instructor. I spent literally only 30 minutes in a jiu jitsu workshop with him running the show. It was a very worthwhile 30 minutes. He reminded me of Anthony Joseph in his teaching style and I swear as a female I feel that is rare in jiu jitsu instructors.
Krav Oz Germantown, MD (basically DC)
Chantell Prescott- Program Director. I had the privilege to be on this lady’s team while she tested for her black belt. Phenomenal person and literally the number one person I would want if I was in a position where I needed a tourniquet or first aid. Serious BA with awesome bedside manner.
The Mat Martial Arts & Fitness Cedar Park, TX (basically Austin)
Alec Rains- Owner. There is so much you can tell by drilling with someone while a sweaty mess. This guy is kind, informative, quick to explain clearly, and just a general kind person. This wasn’t just an assessment from me, I heard this from several other people as well about how when they visited Austin he took time to make them feel welcome.
Midwest Krav Maga St Charles, MO (basically St Louis)
Paul Fritche- Owner. I have had the pleasure of drilling with Paul on two different occasions. One at EWO last November and at Unlisted where he basically used me to wipe the floor during the circle of death drill. This was a consensual drill so don’t let that scare you off of his gym, he is great and and has awesome control. Very encouraging individual.
Ben Hanks- Instructor Sparring and BJJ coach. I got to know Ben during the Instructors Training Course as well as Unlisted. He is a fun training partner and the fact that he was there twice in one month on his own dime is telling about the quality of what we were learning so that he could take it back to St. Louis. Also really nice since I kept mixing him up with someone I met at EWO, he was super gracious about it, I however am embarrassed…..
Krav Maga Cleveland Warrensville Heights, OH (so like Cleveland)
Amitt Maranganti- Owner. I met Amitt at both Instructors Training Weekend and Unlisted. He is serious and fun at the same time. Quick, to the point and there to learn as much as he could to bring back to his gym. Also has a hell of a bi@t$ slap, which should not be off putting at all because he can teach it to you effectively AND explain why its important to know.
Eli Knight- Paducah, Kentucky
Apparently if you do Jiu Jitsu, you know who Eli Knight is. I didn’t until my husband fan girled about him when he found out Eli was in my EWO class last November. I just know him as a humble and general all around nice guy. He is lead instructor at 3Rivers Martial Arts and IS Knight Jiu Jitsu. He is constantly running seminars at Fit to Fight so if you get a chance to learn from him, jump on it and at the very least check out his YouTube channel Knight Jiu-Jitsu.
A few weeks ago I made a facebook post about my sheer hatred for shadow boxing. I knew this statement was going to go three ways. One, I was going get waylaid on the merits of how important it is and the technical whys which I am totally okay with. I am aware I hover on the dramatic side and also aware the people I surround myself with will call me out and educate me on it. They did. Two, it was going to get compared to katas or forms and that was going to spark a debate, it did. And lastly three, it was going to create open season on me for anyone teaching a class I attended to extend shadowboxing time for like ever or when I got back Aaron was going to make me work on it, he did.
I was currently in the middle of writing my EIR (Ego Injury Report) for Fit to Fights Unlisted when today I had a training session with Aaron Kimball from TCB. I had been gone almost 8 weeks so I was pretty pumped to be back with my tribe there. We started with speed bag which is fine. I suck tremendously at it but enjoy the monotony of it; the frustration never exceeds mild irritation and it actually is peaceful to me. Then he decided we were going to do shadowboxing with this hard teardrop ball thing that swings from the ceiling and simultaneously hits you in the back of the head, I am sure there is a technical name for it but I don’t know it. What sent me over the edge was the double end bag set horizontally.
I always find it funny how my head processes the things that I don’t care about looking like a fool and the things I do. There is 100% no correlation to which ones I absolutely abhor and which ones I can do and be okay looking stupid. It’s like my brain says you messed that up terribly and you look dumb, yeah totally put that on the internet and write about it. Then in the next breath I have this ridiculously small drill that I am doing in a room of maybe three people who aren’t even paying attention and I cannot do it. I decide I freaking hate it. My brain says well that just means you need to do it more, Aaron voices if you hate it then you need to do it more, I KNOW I am lacking in this area and I need to do it more, and all I want to do is take my karambit to said horizontal double end bag that I am currently looking like a leg less duck trying to bob and weave under and sling shot that b@star$ across the room. I get frustrated, I am not even out of breath, I am not even worn down, it’s seems fairly simple, my body will not do it, I hit melt down mode, I feel like a toddler in a tantrum, and in that moment something I love doing is not fun.
I had started in on the Unlisted article about when it is not fun and after today decided I needed to expand on that thought more. Why it is important to keep going when you just flat out aren’t enjoying it. Well now that I have calmed down from my emotional flip out over a double end bag and am enjoying a nice americano from Java Dudes I like to think I can iron this out.
Last night was grueling, three hours of a welcome back. Today I am sore after my class and my freakshow of boxing. So why? Why keep going? Why do all these training seminars and weekends? Why not stop when I hit a point of admitting to myself at certain points that this flat a$$ is incredibly hard and not fun? I mean hell I am 39 years old, I can just leave.
I started Healthy Buffalo as a blog and resource for realistic self defense. I wanted to learn more and I wanted to provide more for the women around me. I hated the feeling in the back of my head thinking realistically I had this false sense of bravado and knowing that maybe, just maybe even after earning a black belt, I may not make it out of an attack alive. The bad guy was likely going to be bigger and all he needed was one good hit for me to panic, expel all my energy, trip over a curb, and forget all I had learned while he let me wear myself out enough to be hauled into a van. That’s reality. I know this. I mean I am making the odds more in my favor, but the fact of the matter is something Aaron Janetti said at Unlisted, self defense is a gamble. You can train and train and train and one variable goes wrong and you can lose.
I want to even the score. I want to scream back at violence. I want to be deselected, and if I have to defend myself or my children, I want to do it as effective as possible. I want to beat the house on evil. I want to share what I know so that others are safer. I want to encourage people to take steps towards their personal safety. I want to build them up, but I want to call out and trim off the fake crap that flat out doesn’t work. I want my daughters and sons to draw lines for themselves. I want my kids safe. I want them to see the example of doing hard things. I want them to see the gains of brawling with adversity and as long as they learn, know they will not be defeated.
And with that long list of wants comes the understanding that it is sometimes its going to make me cry, I will likely get hurt, its going to be an uphill scramble of suck, its not going to be fun.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Arkansas posted on Instagram today that there are 42 million survivors of childhood se¥u@l abuse in the US today. 42 million. To get that number to go down even by one is worth looking like an idiot to get it right and not have fun. All that ties together in self defense, its all linked. What we saw and dealt with as foster parents when it comes to physical and se¥u@l abuse was the drive to start at the foundations and build when it comes to safety. So that every day there are less victims and more people fighting back for themselves and those that can’t.
Sun Tzu said, “Sweat more during peace, bleed less during war.” That’s it, that’s why you keep going when its not fun. Although I would say my mantra will likely be more along the lines of, “look like a fool and cry in training so you can John Wick in the streets.” Maybe a shallow inspiration, but the heart is there. Also, I need to buck up on the double end bag……
#stillnotjumpingrope #unfun#womensselfdefense #doubleendbag #TCB#shadowboxing#keepgoinguntilitlookslessdumb#childrensadvocacycenter #fightforfun#newoutlook #perspective #eventhescore#foundations
EIR or Ego Injury Report is apparently (I am still learning all these terms) an actual tactical persons AAR or After Action Report. I have not been in the military and I feel for me EIR is more my style because lets face it, that exactly what these videos are going to show, blows to my ego. Hell I lost a shoe in one of these….. So without further ado, Fit To Fights Hard Ready Unlisted or for some attending the course, Krav Maga Black Belt Test.
Last November I attended a Shivworks Edged Weapons Overview course that was being hosted by Fit To Fight. I was so impressed with the crew there and the people I met that I came home raving. So much so that my husband was likely to accidentally slip a mitt and nail me upside the head while we were working out together just to get me to shut up. He didn’t, I am grateful, and we made plans. Or rather I researched like a stoned procrastinator during finals week deciding I wanted to train under them and get a more hands on what they were about.
We went at the end of February and attended their Instructors Training Course weekend which was informative, exhaustive, and incredibly fun. From there we stayed and trained with them doing classes 5-6 times a week for the month of March ending with the grand finale of Unlisted. There is so much to unpack from the month and about this group that I will be writing a separate article about them in a couple of days, but today I wanted to talk about when the fun stops.
To sign up for Hard Ready Unlisted you had to apply, pay (which was a fairly standard rate), and know pretty much nothing about what you are getting yourself into. It’s a three day course where you are told to just show up with a pistol, 200 rounds, two to three shirts and pants and shoes to change into daily, and a good attitude. The application was pretty involved; actually it was very similar to the many foster/adoption parent applications I have filled out only with questions about guns and active shooters.
It’s called Unlisted because if you die, you signed a non disclosure, so they just roll your body off in a ravine on Ryan Hoovers property because you were never there, you are, “Unlisted….”
I am one of those people that prefer to walk in blind when it’s something I know is going to test my mettle. My first training weekend a year ago, I am so grateful I just be-bopped in there oblivious to what I had gotten myself into because I am not sure I would have started all this had I known. Being at Fit To Fight the month before was not necessarily a conducive atmosphere in terms of easing any anxiety I might have felt. I saw literal walls go up, made friends with those that were black belt testing whose unease managed to rub off, and had several people inquire if I was concerned. I wasn’t, until I was asked multiple times what we were doing there for the month and someone would say, “Oh she is doing the Unlisted,” and I would get this, “Ohhhhhhh….” I had no clue that it was also their Black Belt testing and so I awesomely spent the month wigging out and wondering how over my head I had gotten Ryan and I and if this would be used in marital fights for years to come.
So we survived, barely. Day one they, “warmed us up” inspirationally and physically. I spent the first three hours of this pondering when the fun would start. There were about 15 of us enrolled and then several people in and out. We awkwardly did pistol drills with SIRT guns so those running the show who had been so sweet the month before miraculously turned into drill sergeants on crack while they watched silently as we squirmed wondering what the hell we were doing wrong. This second-guessing thought process could have just been me, but I did manage to meet other over thinkers as well; there is like a honing beacon so we can recognize each other and freak out together.
Within the first hour I understood the necessity of the 2-3 shirts requirement, a friend of mine mentioned later that she could literally smell and differentiate other peoples sweat on her t-shirt and I have never understood anything better. We did the worst drill I have ever done in my life, shadow boxing…. Just kidding. It was barrel rolls down the mat with a person on top doing knee on belly. I know for some people who attended reading this they will be like, “Seriously Christun?” But yes, I am serious. That. Drill. Sucked.
We were then split into two groups and we had range day first which I am eternally grateful to those running this sheep circus because the following morning was 30 degrees outside and I am a fair weather fighter. I don’t do cold and I don’t jump rope.
The range was set up basically like every other one of these things I have been to and our esteemed leader was Chris Magno. Chris, ironically is the brother in law to Rodney, the instructor that had walked me through room clearing at AR Tactics a few days before. When I say the world is small, the firearm world is smaller. Chris was an amazing teacher who also happens to formerly be John Ringo in his past life. He would run through the drills making it look so simple that when attempted by myself I contemplated if I had just stood around the whole explanation picking my nose.
Forcing Ryan to be the Instagram husband and film, I was able to get a few of these on video so the world can see my screwups. Fueled on beef jerky and a prayer we went into some drills I had done before, thumb pectoral shooting and what not, to some I had not. I spent this day testing out the Fabriclip holster I had bought. Not being a belt wearer I wanted to see if it held up to its hype, a little bit of yes and no. Looking for better options currently…
We were constantly getting our heart rate revved up with pressure testing and then running a gamut of things. It was hard, but it was fun, finally. The atmosphere felt as safe as you can make it when fighting with pistols. One of the drills was a three man attack for what felt like hours and was in reality probably 20 seconds. Then you had to open the safe and shoot whatever target they called, mag change when you need to, and keep going. Another had us ramping up the blood by kettle ball and then attend to what would be a wounded person bleeding out. For anyone that knows me my bedside manner can best be described as Nurse Ratched and I promptly forgot I was wearing a body cam after this one started. After I managed to tourniquet the dummy’s arm I had to carry him and run to get him into the truck for safety. No ranger roll for this girl, just an incredibly inelegant sling up to my shoulders that I am pretty sure would not be feasible for me IRL with a real human, because physics. This was followed by a bevy of curse words as I pounded up this hill to not so gently lay him down with, if memory serves, a, “get in there fu@#$%....” Not my finest moment. Hastily remembering the body cam, I arranged him more gently. I ran back down the hill to protect my, “person,” and shoot at the, “bad guys.” 8 hours, first day done.
Day two was more emotional. I was sore, bruised, and likely sporting a broken thumb; we were inside though and it was warm so no complaints. We ran sparring drills with Morgan who I had been learning from the past month, changed a few shirts, and individually ran the shoot house drill. I had just hit my thumb while trying to choke my husband (safely) and was doing my best to not puke when I got called in for my turn.
Aaron Janetti is an affiliate with Fit To Fight and runs Endeavor Self Defense in Ohio. I had met him previously at EWO and had done a few memorable evolutions with him. I found him to be a fun, very easy going person who travels the country teaching Active Shooter Response in over 30 states, but training Aaron and teaching Aaron are two totally different individuals….. Training Aaron is a laughing individual who cracks jokes and is a happy-go-lucky training partner. Teacher Aaron rocks a serious mode that cracks an evil smile occasionally and quite frankly scares me. Like when you are debriefing/explaining your reasons for your decisions in the shoot house, no smile, no frown, no emotion, just sits there letting you run out of steam. Wigged me out. Obviously I am not scarred enough to not learn from him again because I signed up for his Knife Control Concepts workshop in June. It’s that or I am a masochist.
Aaron ran the shoot house drills and taught several do’s and don’t of house clearing and dealing with general bad dudes in your space, job, public, etc. My scenario was me sitting home alone when someone knocks on my door. I have a sim gun in the safe located in my bedroom with an unknown amount of rounds and a tourniquet next to it. That’s it. That’s what I got.
I need to point out that there was no way I was going to do any of these scenario work drills correctly, there are too many variables and that wasn’t the goal. I am posting the video because its fun and eye opening. There will be nothing a person can point out that I did wrong I haven’t already hashed over a billion times while counting bruises in the bathtub each night and for several weeks afterwards. I knew going into this weekend I was going to mess up constantly, I was there to try, not get it right. I was there to see what I would do, weigh out my options, and test myself with what I had learned up against my own internal fight.
There were two small things that had been hammered into my head for quite some time before that and if I managed to do those I was going to pass my own personal exam. One was understanding that it was not a gunfight, but a fight with a gun in it. I didn’t want to dwell and focus only on the gun as my weapon, but to make sure that I used everything I had been trained with. I thought I was out of ammo after I missed the second guy and he came upon me in the hallway. Honestly I don’t even know what I was doing at that point going back to the living room; I think I was thinking I needed to see if there were any more people in the house. I hit him with the gun and then dropped it because it was not useful to me. That was my first personal success.
The second was making sure I damn well called 911. This was something I totally had shamed into me at ECQC and I was not going to screw it up this go round. So yeah after flailing around and being slammed into a few walls from Bad Guy Window Salesman who I missed killing the first time around, I stupidly left my gun a few feet from him, ran into the wrong room, didn’t check to see if first guy was dead, ran outside my “house” minus a shoe and called 911 on a phone I magically pulled out of thin air because lets be realistic, I either left my phone on the couch in the living room when this started or it fell out in the scuffle. But dammit, I remembered to call. So yeah, I failed in every other aspect and there are so many shoulda couldas that I have ran on repeat in my head constantly since, but I dropped my empty ish gun and I called 911. Minor success, but success nonetheless….
Also totally cool with not using the tourniquet to save bad guy. I live in real life 30 minutes from the closest hospital so if you are in my house uninvited, know I have pressure tested the fact that I am not saving you if I have shot you. I feel like this is good to know.
Day three, not as fun. Actually not really fun at all. Fun fact I have learned: never assume if the Sunday is shorter in hours that it will be a breeze. It’s not. Ever. In fact its short because they are going to just grind you to the freaking ground and smile while they poke at your dismembered body parts with a shock knife.
Honestly I don’t even remember day three, it’s a blur. Lots of moving, sweating, choking back some tears, and the Circle of Death with Amber. This is where you stand in a circle with one person in the middle; everyone has a number and can pick a weapon of choice, gun, knife, or club. Your number is called and you go to town on whoever’s turn it is to stand in the center. By this time we had been split so those that were black belt testing were in another room being smacked around lovingly. I wasn’t too worried about them because they weren’t “Unlisted” so the powers that be needed to make sure they stayed alive; they weren’t as easily disposed of since they are the next batch of Fit to Fight Black Belts and all. Three of the guys in my group were giants with a few years of Jiu Jitsu experience (I am assuming this because they were wearing fancy rashguards,) so I spent most of this drill being used to wipe the floor, and the rest of it I have blocked out from memory.
Another fond drill I remember vaguely was flinch testing. This was where we punched each other’s forehead while they try not to blink. By this point everyone was pretty tired and doped up on adrenaline so even if there was aiming involved it was lacking profusely at best. So after being smacked directly in the eyeball instead of the forehead I made the decision that this one wasn’t worth the 5k I paid for LASIK on my eyes and I screwed them tightly shut.
Throughout the whole time Ryan Hoover gave fun motivational speeches that apparently my brain chose to block out as well since I know they happened, but I only remember staring at the back of one of his shirts. It said over and over, “I have lost many times. I have lost many times.” This covers the entire shirt, then it says in the very last sentence, “But I have never been defeated.” That I remember. I want that T-shirt. That concept was important to me. I knew I was going to lose many times that weekend; I went in with that understanding extremely clear. I also went in rather anxiety ridden for the first time out of all the workshops I have done knowing the battle would be against myself and it was. So what was my win? Did I actually have fun? Why am I paying to get beat down for three days if it isn’t?
Unlisted was by far the hardest training weekend I have survived. The fun stopped several times throughout and several times I wanted to stop, but I learned, I grew. Each time I have walked away from an exhaustive few days like this with a wealth of knowledge and each time what I glean is always new. I am not defeated because I teared up, I learned more about perseverance. I am not defeated because I made the wrong calls in a shoot house, I learned I could keep my small goals in mind when under intense pressure. So all in all I would say a few hours out of the weekend of non fun was worth it to learn that if I shoot a criminal in my house that tourniquet is staying in my medical bag while I fake call 911 with my hand.
Aaron Jannetti RRyan KHoover Aamber Staklinski
Special thanks to Adolfo Salas III Morgan Talley Salas Anya Wallace Anthony Joseph Riley Hoover for helping me the month before. You all are awesome.
Elle Jackson thank you so much for the encouraging messages throughout. Seriously that helped in many ways.
Aaron Kimball and Rodney Thompson sorry for laying all over the walls and just standing in the doorway like a boss #thatneedssomework
Cortenay Munn Matters and Chantell Prestcott-Hollander Alec Rains Brooke Hughes you all are amazing, congratulations on your black belts!
#unlisted #notusingthetourniquet #womensselfdefense #fittofight #hardready #everythinghurts #isurvived #glock #shockknife #andersenwindow #theycomeinpairs #thumbpectoral #number2iselusive #ihavelostmanytimes #learninginfailures #ihaveneverbeendefeated
Author- Christun Erwin
"Thank you for your words. They make an impact and its important that, human to human, woman to woman, mother to mother... you know that you make a difference, even to those you never knew your words" -Krystal