I am no stranger admitting to nor demonstrating tears. For me to make it through an entire training weekend without waterworks has about as slim of a chance as a person being able to willfully urinate on an assailant during an attack (see previous article). This time I almost made it. We had wrapped up the last drill and sat down for our debrief of Knife Control Concepts. I had new hot pink fighty journal in hand knowing I was going to get to hear everyone state their tales of what they gleaned from the weekend, but a very sweet, simple misunderstanding from my daughter got the tears leaking. So yeah, didn’t make it.
I first met Aaron Jannetti and Eli Knight last November at Shivworks Edged Weapons Overview in Charlotte, NC. Both were there to attend the course; I drilled with, as well as had one of my main evolutions with Aaron. He is lighthearted and has the ability to drive fun into the sheer doggedness of reps. I love the role-playing aspect a little too much when it comes to scenario work drills and was able to play the “Hooker with a Not so Much a Heart of Gold,” during his. Basically, I attempted to stab/mug him and thus forced him to be my friend. To give a little bit of context, evolutions are when you put on a helmet (sometimes) and just go at it, in a controlled environment, for the sake of seeing what info you have retained thus far. No worries, he got me back, it’s on video, and I totally loaded it to the internet; because #egoinjuryreport.
During EWO I remember watching Aaron and Eli on the breaks working and talking with Craig Douglas about certain ideas. I later found out this was the foundations of what is now the course I took this weekend called Knife Control Concepts. Honestly, I was just surprised they had the energy to even move while on break because I was too busy not dying on the wall while pep talking myself up internally for what were some very eye opening, but violent evolutions I was about to become a part of.
Craigs mantra for EWO is, “Get them off of you. Keep them off of you.” KCC, developed by Aaron Jannetti, Eli Knight, and Mike Cheney, is the supplemental grey area of knife defense. I couldn’t tell you which course I learned more because to me its comparing key lime pie and sugar cookies; I need both. Both are amazing.
After I trained under Aaron at Unlisted a few months ago, he mentioned his Virtual Instructor Course for KCC he was starting up in March. I was super skeptical about it being online and honestly was at a point that I really didn’t feel I could add more to my jelly roll pan-of-a-plate that was piled high. I was however, impressed with the little nuances of his teaching; the small things that he seemed to know were important in the grand scheme of self-defense. I liked his open personality and call to those around him to constantly strive to be better. So, I agreed not having really any clue what I was getting myself into, outside of the fact that I knew I would likely benefit somewhere from it. I had never used Zoom, nor Dropbox, nor really any virtual meeting thing outside of Facetime. So yeah, right off the bat, beneficial. I didn’t know what to expect and if I am being real with the internet right now, I will say I thought it was going to a sort of, glance-at-it-once-a-week thing. It wasn’t. I needed a partner.
KCC Instructor’s Course was super involved if I wanted to do it right, and it was so much so that even Ryan couldn’t join me to be my drill dummy for each meeting. I don’t know what my expectations were, but I quickly realized this was not going to be something I could skate by with. There were going to be actual people across the United Stated holding me accountable to my material. Fifteen minutes before the first virtual class I grabbed Lili and five minutes in, realized she was going to be vital to my success.
She surprised me. She is fourteen, I was using her basically as a filler for knife movement and she became an active role for every meetup after that. The first time she snapped me down on the deck while we had our fourth zoom call, I surmised that she was absorbing this material and doing it with as much success as I had seen adults pull off at various training weekends. We finished the course amidst alligators, kids, and three states. I was able to receive my KCC Instructors Certification this weekend when Lili and I attended the actual in-training, two-day concepts course in Hilliard, OH. It wasn’t required, but it gave us a mother daughter road trip and I could not argue that she had earned her right to be there.
KCC is meant to touch on the gray area of knife defense; where, “$h*t is not going the way you want it to.” There is no focus on entry or exit so much but understanding the energy and flow of the person wielding the knife. It was created to be able to plug in to several different types of martial arts/weapons backgrounds. The main point is feeling energy. Being the person who is almost always the smaller opponent, this was a huge plus knowing I am never going to muscle my way out of anything. Size matters, and please run from any place that tells you otherwise. Understanding how to utilize another person’s forceful movement to your advantage is something I knew I needed but couldn’t articulate enough to even say what I was searching for.
KCC is reactionary with feeling movement, not reactionary with moves, and when you are in the thick of a fight you aren’t running through the rolodex in your brain to find the perfect answer of, “Tree of Strife D,” to respond to a downward stabbing motion. You are thinking, “Holy $h*t, that’s a knife!”
“If you can’t manage the on-top and in-control position, then you can’t manage the other parts. That’s why this subset is so important.” Aaron Jannetti
Aaron is working in the realm of, “It depends…” Any instructor worth listening to understands there is no one answer for each scenario. The creation of a workable flow in drilling is key. The more you understand it and run it, the quicker your reaction time. This applies to anything from tracing the knife or being able to get a better control of the assailant. It is a knife defense course but really it bleeds over into everything. I found things clicking in Jiu Jitsu that I hadn’t connected yet. Aaron mentioned on day two, “I want smart, violent people.” he is not necessarily speaking to those that have the ability to force their way through, he is connecting the ones that have to work harder at the technical. This is what drew me to his teaching style in the first place and what caused me to ultimately say yes to his KCC Instructors Course. Yes, it required a couple month long, daily-bust-on-it, commitment and I had to shove some other priorities into my figurative crockpot to stew, but it was worth it.
Saturday in Ohio was focused on the stand-up module and Sunday was groundwork; five hours each of nonstop grinding. I wore my heart rate monitor the first half of day one because, whereas I have tracked a normal workout, I had never followed a training weekend. I burned 956 calories before one pm. It was a grueling two days. However, halfway through the second day you start to understand how the stand-up ties seamlessly into the groundwork. There is a constant reminder to note each checkpoint in the flow; to make sure you have the basics repped repeatedly and fine-tuned. You can then start to visualize how the meshing of personalities and talent these three guys have, played into what has become a program where several well-known people in the tactical world are signed up to take this course.
Both days my brain shut down at about one ‘o’ clock. I have always loved the phrase, “drinking from a fire hose.” That’s a pretty accurate statement for all training weekends. I will roll through the brain fog of exhaustion in hopes I can take away a couple good nuggets and apply them later. With this program I could work in the fog; that’s the magic of the flow.
Lili being here was phenomenal in several different ways. She knew enough from working with me on the instructor’s course that she wasn’t just keeping up. She is also 100 pounds so having her as partner allowed me to focus more on the tiny but important details without being hulk smashed the whole time stuck in survival mode. What was interesting was the mother/daughter dynamic. I don’t know about other people but running drills with my spouse is a fifth level of hell (Stay tuned for VA Beach KCC EIR coming in September). This was going to be Lili’s first time understanding the full grind of a training weekend and having to push through with a positive outlook. Me, I figured I was going to have to roll a bit with the squelch of teenage angst.
A fourteen-year-old working with her mom can be challenging; throw in knife fighting and snap downs and well…. We talked a lot before-hand about perseverance and being a good partner. About ½ way through day two you could see the weariness setting in and with that came a small bit of attitude. I reminded her she was in an adult class, she had been prepared for how it was going to be, and well, for lack of a better term, she needed to buck up and not be a dead fish partner. I expected a sulk, but instead got a rallying. I made a small notice of the perk up and moved on not thinking about it until later.
During training Eli said, “Your back up plan should make you more confident in your original plan.” That’s why the gray area is so important. You can manage your surroundings for avoidance, and you should. You can practice quick disarmaments from the entry, but anyone who has felt force on force understands that can easily all go down the crapper quite fast. It’s always messy, but a strong foundation of movement and flow in reaction will make you calmer and more clear thinking on the onset. I love chips and queso, and man, I love a good finale of Bananas Foster, but a really good, several hours, time spent on a good pork shoulder can make my heart sing. (I have no idea why I have so many food references in here…)
I knew while writing notes that this EIR was going to be a long one. There was so much to unpack, and I have no issues writing about my screwups, I mean heck, this is an Ego Injury Report. However, the blow to my ego with this course went straight to my mama’s heart, because this wasn’t a screwup where I could laugh it off, but one of failure by example. The second day wrapped up with the very last drill being force on force. It was the culmination of both stand-up and ground-work flows, only this time you were defending against the other person who was trying their best to be a good, bad guy. I videoed a friend as they went first and when our turn came up, I made the mistake of asking Lili if she wanted to do it. I was tired, knew I was going to be taking this course again in September with Ryan, so I made it an option for my fourteen-year-old when I should have shown the perseverance we talked about so much on the drive up.
This being her first dog tired, back-to-back, go-round, she took the option of being done. I immediately had a settling in my gut that I had screwed up even though I tried to justify it in my brain that I would be doing it again in six weeks. But that’s just it, it wasn’t about me, it was about leading by example to HER on finishing what you start no matter how hard. By the time Aaron called everyone to sit down for a debrief I was in full blown, failure mom moment.
The debrief is something I have done before with Aaron during Unlisted. He had us sit down and write out everything that had happened, to our recollection, in the shoot house drill. It is effective in helping sort out your emotions and facts in the aftermath of a highly intense situation. I have used it several times since, so was looking forward to this everyone’s thoughts when done at the end KCC. We were given time to debrief with our partner each day so I videoed each one while Lili and I talked through the things we learned and what to focus more on. Lili spoke about her takeaways and when it was my turn, I realized I needed to make sure she understood I had failed her in that moment and that in the future I would do better. I shut off my phone and she looked at me with tears in her eyes and then proceeded to apologize for not being a good partner for that aforementioned time. She had essentially, “Owned up to her $h*t,” and I couldn’t be more proud. That and the fact that she managed to not cry during training the whole weekend, a feat I barely manage.
A few minutes later Aaron asked the circle of people to voice their opinion of the program, and to offer critique on it. There were approximately 30 attending, fourteen were women, and Lili was the youngest by four years. When it was her turn, she spoke clearly and without hesitation to a room full of now friends (because she forces friendship like her mama), but she had misunderstood the question. So, in front of 30 plus adults she talked of what she liked of the course and then proceeded to own up to what she thought were her screwups during the drills. I had finally made it through a training weekend without even once tearing up and she made me cry with her clear understanding of what she felt she needed to focus on to become better.
My ego injury of mom failure in perseverance was turned into something rather beautiful of my girl understanding my mess up, owning up and apologizing for her own, and then reflection in front of a room full of peers. For this mom it was incredibly humbling, and I guess that’s exactly what an Ego Injury Report should be.
#KCC #Selfdefense #knifedefense #momlife #daughterlife #groundandpound #everythinghurts #didntjumprope #noshadowboxingeither #bearcrawlfordays #ownup #dobetter #raisingwarriors #perseverance #takeyourdaughtertoworkday #shegetshertrashtalkfromhermama #sass
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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