When I was ten my brother and I would go frog gigging, well he would, I would just traipse along picking flowers and try not to cringe #notmything #butnature. He would bring them to my Uncle Randy and THEY, I am emphasizing “they” would eat the legs. I am pretty good at being a When-in-Rome kind of gal but watching them roll in the slime of the pond and then get blasted by the fifteen overkill pumps of a pellet pistol in the hands of a too eager eight-year-old and then flop around in the frying pan…. Well that just kind of puts me off. This was my mental image of Airsoft guns. Not saying this is even remotely accurate, but just saying this is what was rolling around in my overactive imagination when I signed up for Five-O Tactical’s CONTACT course in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Last Saturday I walked into a church that smelled exactly what you would envision heaven would smell like. No, but seriously the Airwick’s were doing their job while I anticipated my ego crush. I would like to say it lessened the blow a bit, but it didn’t. This is the closest driving distance I have done for a training weekend, so being able to go home afterwards and not sleep in a hotel was a bonus. In true Christun form, I jumped in the metaphoric pond of adventure without having any idea what to expect outside of childhood frog horrors. I had been following Five-O on Instagram for a while looking for a TacMed class when this one came up. It was around 200$ and required nothing but an Airsoft mask. I signed up a couple weeks before and made the drive over at four am.
I expected a beat down. Prior to courses I prefer not to think or really know much about them, I just walk in blindly. I hope this isn’t allegoric for my life. What I got was an epic experience and a close place to hit up more classes. This is the first one I can recommend for literally everyone if you carry a firearm, are planning to carry, and live in the area. I would also say if you tick the previous boxes, one that is imperative to take. It was not overly physical, but more based on the mental thought processes of the whys, when you should draw a gun, deescalate, decision making, ect. It was super fun, realistic, and well done. It was also very different from any class I have taken before, but no less impactful.
Chuck Smith is owner and runs the show, he has 26 plus years in law enforcement and a whole other laundry list of credentials that you can read about yourself on Facebook. Do your own stalking…. He is also pretty damn funny. If you read any of my articles you know why this is important to me…The class ran as five separate private evolutions or drills for each student. We would wait in the sanctuary that smelled of all things fantastically homemade until we were called to run our scenario. After each we would debrief quickly with Chuck and then go into another holding room while the others finished. We would then congregate back to divide up by who died and discuss it as a group. As expected, I totally died. Twice. This was great though because the first and last scenes scene allowed me to see some major holes in my training.
To the true nature of an Ego Injury Report, I am going to run slightly through how I died and where it went wrong. I don’t want to give too much away due to future students of this class, however I do run a self-defense course/blog and provide information out there for those to address their safety and learn from my errors... I would say conundrum, but Chuck mentioned they change the scenes up for each class so let’s ride.
My first one was a very classic parking lot grocery store scene, I knew to pay attention to my surroundings, I mean hell, I teach this; so when bad guy Boyd came out of nowheresville and all I saw was a gun in my face I was so surprised he got the leg up on me and I failed miserably. My brain fried, scrambled if you will, I did exactly what I knew not to do which is draw a pistol on an already drawn gun (don’t do this, like ever), and got shot directly in the chest point blank. I can now safely say Airsoft pellets feel exactly like sim rounds only smaller. I was a frog in a pond….
What was interesting about my reaction in this scene is how my previous thoughts in training were almost a detriment. I realized a tiny bit of sexism in myself with how I prepare for my safety. See I automatically went to deciding what was going to happen to me as a female (rape) before anything had even played out. In Chucks words, “It has to be this because I have prepared for this.” This ended up being a rather novel breakthrough for me because of how mental and physical training play to each other. I had previously wrote https://www.healthy-buffalo.com/blogarticles/keep-your-crotch-in-the-dirt#/ how Knife Control Concepts helps with reaction verses a countering response and how beneficial that is in a fight. What I learned here is MENTALLY I need to address that the same way. I assumed it went directly to a rape scenario, when in all actuality it was a robbery. Had I just reacted to him directly I probably would have lived. The gun was already two inches from my face, I had no idea what he wanted, I didn’t ask, I panicked. I didn’t buy time to rationalize and think, I countered stupidly.
These scenes are based off several Chuck has dealt with or seen over the years as LEO, so I looked up how many times women specifically were mugged by weapon, not raped… According to the US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, and Office for Victims of Crime, in 2005 there were hourly 66 robberies, 24 sexual assaults, and 12 rapes against women across the US. Statistically my chances of rape were about 25%. (Yes, this was the latest info I could currently find on this specific thing…)
Another non-meaning-to-have-but-still-sexist thought I had was how much on the backburner I put de-escalation tactics for me as a female. Not saying I don’t use them or teach them, but truly may have felt that it is more beneficial to men who are geared towards verbal, pushing, blows, than women. However, stacked against those stats, de-escalation probably would have been helpful. Just food for thought. React to what is happening don’t counter the assault. This is not saying don’t do anything; for more explanation on what I mean by this please see KCC article mentioned above.
The next three scenarios were very common everyday things that were awesome to work through. Every role player did an excellent job of making it realistic, these stemmed from dealing with road rage to hotel safety. It was well thought out and super practical.
My last one was probably more eye opening than the Clockwork Orange eyeball scene. It was a convenience store robbery that was a very typical, not really make the news, sort of crime that called out my mental bias to the core; assailant holds gun to store clerk demanding money. Could have played this one out as well, but the biggest issue was my assumptions in crime. I don’t want to give this one too much away, but I will say, like before, I knew better. Once again, I botched it due to a preconceived possibly sexist mental block.
I know now. And I learned. These are the lessons that stick with you; like how I will never forget to call 911 due to Shivworks ECQC. Craig, I called every scene I didn’t die in. I absolutely loved getting to know the other students in attendance, it was by far the most diverse crowd I have seen. Ages ranged from 18ish to well into sixties with males and females. One of the things I thought truly amazing was that part of the students were alumni and had gone through church security training for active shooter with Chuck. He is apparently known for running safety protocols with congregations, and several people in the holding room could not talk highly enough of what they had learned previously to keep their church safe. One man in particular spoke to me of the constant growth as a group during the day with that particular course. It was awesome to chat about wins and losses. I have stated several times in articles I am so grateful for the losses, it means I found out in a safe space what I lacked, and I didn’t waste my money on crap training. If I won them all, why was I even there?
Chuck was incredibly safe and runs a very sterile, no-nonsense environment. You were patted down for ALL weapons before you went into the building and were not allowed back in without a recheck. This was a no tolerance, no strike rule; if you didn’t do this and it was found you had a weapon on you, you were out. I always appreciate proper safety protocols; anything can happen when adrenaline is running high so that dynamic needs to be thought through and he did.
Another thing he noted often that I really wanted to acknowledge was how he told us not to “scene” the scenario. For it to play out realistically, you need to not be focused on the win, but how you truly would react to what is happening. I was grateful for the prior reminder during a particular one where if I truly went against my nature and scene-ed it, I would have just stayed in the car. I am the person that will get out and immediately ask if a person is okay, that’s my nature and I needed to see how that would play out and work from there.
I apparently do not have that same nature towards frogs. Bummer. However, in solidarity with their memory I have five direct hit marks on my chest and back so there’s that. I swear those airsoft pellets were ceramic balls, I was assured they were not….
Chuck is a phenomenal teacher with a truly neat thing going on. I am not kidding when I say he has found a way to reach into the civilian world of all ages and genders and show them what they need. His demographic is the broadest I have witnessed, and he manages it well. He is serving and reaching those that need it most and saving lives by seeing the need and filling it. This was not tactical; this was practical, and it was a nice change of pace from beatdown and brain, to just brain.
#froggiggin #airsoft #badguyboyd #smellychurches #selfdefense #responsiblegunownership #security #manageyoursurroundings #sympathizingwiththefrogs #childhoodmemories #selfdefense #ididnotjumprope
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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