Last night at TCB we died. Our trainer Aaron Kimball had a point to prove and I am sure he stated it prior, but it didn’t set in because I was too concerned about how to reattach my arm when it fell off from the gazillion jab reps. Surprisingly, he was in a rather jovial mood while doing it, probably a little psychopathic, but hey, we are a diverse mix there.
This past Saturday night was a rather big fight night in my world. I had several different gyms and people across the US that I had trained with and was now cheering for. Two of them were some pretty awesome women on the east coast, and the other four were our local boys here from TCB on the card at J Street Fights. To say that I have had the privilege to meet and train with some incredible individuals is an understatement and this last Saturday was a giant conglomerate of MMA for me. It was a fun challenge to root for those physically in front of me as well as keep up with the others via social media. My girls both won their bouts; I was pretty damned pumped to see their fists raised over Facebook, my “donated” cash had bought me a couple vodkas and diet coke, I had a good seat on the second row getting ready to watch our boys, and it was stacking up to be a rather beautiful, fun night.
Our boys lost. One by one they showed up with heart, went into the cage, gave a phenomenal performance, listened to our incredibly large TCB family cheer them on fanatically, and then they were either submitted or lost by decision. I always find it heartbreaking to watch these young men hang their heads knowing that their first thought is that they think let their team down. I love joking and training with these boys in the gym. They are young, funny, welcoming to new people, they work extremely hard, they watch their diets, and have so much drive that it just tears me up knowing that is what’s in their head when their fist remains down. They sneak a glance at the crowd and it crushes me because I know for a fact that literally could not be farther from the truth for every person that came out to watch.
Fighters and the MMA world get a bad rap a lot of the time. I was actually one of the judgmental a few years ago, likening the whole thing to cock fighting. I used to hate all sports and would always quip about how Romans killed Christians in the name of games when anyone asked me to watch football (still can’t stand it, sorry not sorry). But the bald-faced truth is that while MMA is a raw sport it is an honest one. It is a matched-up-physically via weight fight where there are a few rules, but the gist is don’t elbow on the back of the head and don’t poke your opponent in the eyes. Two people get to test their prowess of fighting arts in pretty much the safest way possible. They are usually in peak shape, have trained countless hours, watch literally everything they put into their body, they have blood tested, they have been matched, and still they get judged by those lacking understanding. They want to test their skill in a manner as old as humans have been around to see if they hold up.
I have seen more passion, sportsmanship, manners, and easy going good natured-ness in MMA than any other sport. I am including fans and fighters alike. Sure, there is the occasional dud in the audience screaming, “Kick em in the starfish!!” who then proceeds to spill beer all over himself, or the once in a while bad tempered toddler fighter stomping his foot because he lost, but for the most part all I have witnessed is constant hugging of opposing fighters offering congratulations on the win, everyone building each other up, fans talking to other gyms sharing tips and stats, and coaches cheering on other gyms fighters when it’s not their guys in the ring. I see trainers with actual love for their people, assessing what went wrong, and running through their head what to work on Monday while simultaneously getting the next fighter up and going for their first round.
While there Saturday it got mentioned in conversation that we also train Jiu Jitsu at TOSS Academy. Though Shawn Pretat, the owner, was not there that night, he was immediately talked highly of because of his willingness to jump in at the last minute and sideline for this particular persons fight a long time ago when his own coach was unable to be there at the last minute. He had never met that person, just saw a need and filled it. This is a sport where people step up, knowing that others will do the same. I cannot tell you how many times I come across a stranger who speaks of how Aaron helped them through an extremely dark time in their life through MMA. That’s the thing that I find amazing about this culture that gets such a bad rap. It’s a warrior’s sport, and it’s an honorable one
You can sit there in that room knowing that about 60% percent of the people there watching and fighting have trained in hugs and punches and everyone is chill and fun and having a great time. There is alcohol and high intensity, and never once have I ever seen things get out of hand. What I have seen is if someone gets a touch wild, they are quickly shut down by their own team not wanting to represent badly. This isn’t the Coliseum, there are no lions, no spurs on the legs, its not Bloodsport; sometimes it can be a bit of a bloodbath, but no one is cheering when someone gets actually hurt, there are no rabid fans foaming at the mouth when a fighter get bloody. They are cheering for a well-placed hit, kick, takedown, clinch, or a submission.
Losing is part of the growth. There have been a couple of our boys that though I am happy they have won a couple of fights, knew for the betterment of their growth, that it is necessary to taste a bit of that bitter pill in order to remain humble. I am good with that, hell I am a mom who is raising my kiddos to know that failure is only failure when you don’t learn.
My friend Kim and I sat there joking about how Monday was going to suck, and we relished in that; that we would all be there that evening, our boys with black eyes and swollen cheeks, as we all died as a team. I teased that Aaron was a giant ball of rage but that’s not true, he assessed, saw what needed to be worked on, came in and hashed out a plan to make us all better. And he did it without making me jump rope so a win in my book.
Is their disappointment? Absolutely, but like a shirt I saw at a Fit to Fight Seminar a while back, “I have lost many times, but I have never been defeated.” They may have lost that bout, but they were already winners and they certainly aren’t defeated, they are just being refined.
There is no defeat unless you quit moving forward. 85-90% of the population will not put in the work to even get there physically and mentally in the first place and if I am being honest, I think that percentage is low. They stepped in that cage; they have overcome any fear of incoming pain or loss by letting that door swing shut behind them. They ARE the top just by being there, even at amateur levels. I heard a BJJ brown belt woman at a gym I trained at recently say that the only white belts forever are the ones who quit. They already won because they stayed in it, they haven’t stopped. They already won because there is literally the most diverse group of people that come to cheer them on. I am not kidding when I speak of a crowd of both fighters and fans that range the career choices of student, moms, dads, doctor, pastor, felon, server, biker, lawyer, etc.. Preppy, cowboy, redneck, kids, fraternity, sporty, glam, emo, you name it, they are represented conversing with one another over their fighter and it’s a blast.
I was teaching a women’s self-defense class on Sunday when a younger woman spoke of how she was incredibly uncomfortable being there. She said she was happy she came but it was hard. I told her about our TCB boys, I told her of heart, and then told her how she was winning by taking that first step even though it was so far out of her comfort zone, she still stepped into her metaphorical cage. She won.
So last night was three hours of death. I was dead legged by my friend Christina several times and today haven’t gotten out of bed for fear it won’t work. My shins are bruised, and my muscles are sore and I couldn’t be more happy. I get to be pushed and learn, by Aaron and those around me. I am encouraged constantly in the same manner by all sorts of mushy group texts that sometimes are annoyingly upbeat, but I love them all for it because they are my team, and they are winners because they keep coming back. I get to encourage as well by being dramatic and annoying to those around me and tease them and laugh with them and play punch face. It’s truly a blessing being a part of this culture that is inclusive, loving, humbling, and just plain epic.
Awesome job fighters.
#winnerwinnerchickendinner #ihavenotbeendefeated #mma #fightnight #tcbfambam #everythinghurts
In a couple of classes this past year the subject of tourniquets has been brought up. I have tried once or twice the joke of not needing one and how I would just tear my petticoat and grab a stick. It apparently isn’t a very funny one though because I never got a laugh out of it and that segues me into a lesson on tourniquets from this past weekend. A lesson I was not prepared for, nor even had an inkling I would learn.
Tac med is on my list of courses to take, but I have had others I wanted to do first. I mean I got the gist of a tourniquet, how it works, maybe had a friend show me how to set up my four or five I have laying around in random places in our car or home. I have argued the merits and non-merits of cheap ones….. I am also fairly certain I could stitch someone up safely if I had to with a piece of dried squirrel gut and some moonshine, cue comedian Brian Regan’s child medic skit, “Get some leaves!!” Please note I am totally kidding, sort of.
I signed up for Five-O Tactical’s Survival Shooting Course two days before it was scheduled, again not knowing what it entailed. I saw the event on Facebook and really enjoyed my last class with them (https://www.healthy-buffalo.com/blogarticles/five-o-froggingfive-o-contact-eir#/), this was going to be live fire, so I jumped on it and made the drive again.
Funny side note, last year I wrote in an EIR about an ECQC course I took and for three days I accidentally stole this poor guy’s chair, actually slept in it too. I thought it was just a random one and even went so far as to remove his keys at one time because my brain was just too tired to comprehend that he was trying to subtly keep me out of it. He was so kind, when at the end of the course, I realized and was appalled that I had taken his seat for the entire weekend. I brought my own this time. Learned my lesson. And then managed to steal someone else’s chair AND accidentally drink their water for about 30 minutes before I realized they weren’t mine. I am just going to help myself to people’s coolers from now on too…..
So tourniquets suck. Like, you know you did it right when it hurts really, really bad. I don’t mind pain, I mean if you know me, I am going to whine continuously about it, but I will do what needs to be done. So when I got the lesson I didn’t know I was getting in cutting off blood supply for the better good of myself, you know, like living, I was a little surprised.
I saw some old friends from the last class, met some new ones, looking at you Officer John, and had a flat-out blast. Literally and figuratively. Five-O it seems has a bit of a cult following. Most are from Tulsa that attend, and they all keep coming back for more, I can see why. Chuck Smith, the owner, has a way of chilling people out when needed and amping it up appropriately to get his point across. This course was as diverse in students as the last one I attended, if not more, and I really want to reiterate how much I love what he has going on. He is not shooting for (pun intended) the tactical crowd; he is aiming for (pun definitely intended) civilians in all walks of life just wanting to be safer.
This course had some of the most fun drills I have done. I was teased halfway through the day for calling them “super-fun drills” but you know what, if you aren’t enjoying it, why are you there? Seriously if you are not taking a pistol course because you find it fun, you are probably just a serial killer trying to hone your skills. It is fun, its why you pay some cash and blow a Saturday doing, “super-fun drills” outside of the safety part.
That being said, I spent most of the time with my super-fun drills trying to get Officer John to smile and he probably spent most of his time trying not to roll his eyes. He was an assistant instructor that was assigned to my end of the line and if you know anything about me and my driving record you will know that I am speaking 100 percent factually when I say Officer John is the epitome of every policeman that has pulled me over for speeding. So when I wasn’t trying to get him to crack a smile I was freaking out over the added stress that if I screwed up said drill he was going to hand me a subliminal expensive ticket. It probably didn’t help that I joked and called him Deputy Dawg….. Lack of humor jokes aside, he is a Law Enforcement Officer using his Saturday off, working with civilians to make them safer. That says loads to his character, and I have mad respect for that.
The drills were based on the survival aspect of an active gunman, hence the name Survival Shooter. What happens when you are down? If you get shot? Injured? How do you deal with it? Which is also the main cause for the rough tourniquet lesson and the random drill he would shout out throughout the day of, “Tourniquet! Right leg!!” Drop everything and take care of it before you theoretically bleed out in 30 seconds.
Because of this aspect we did a ton of one-handed drills, and they were, you guessed it, super-fun. I loved it; malfunction, loading, unloading, all with one hand because the other one is blue from the tourniquet I put on and then Chuck decided it wasn’t good enough so cranked it up a notch, and by cranked I mean he took plyers to the windlass and proceeded to pull the strap through my arm. #iamdramaticiknow
I am going to say one more thing about the tourniquet and then move on with life (I am aware I have used the word eight times in this article), it is really freaking hard to walk with that sucker correctly tightened on your thigh. Which is the main point Chuck was getting at. It is going to be hard, you could be hurt, you could be tired, you could feel hopeless, and you could honestly be laying there thinking you are dying and it’s too late. Don’t give up. Keep fighting. Survive.
So now for the Ego Injury Report of this course. Man, my aim is subpar at best. Shooting is not my forte. To be fair I haven’t given the time to shoot targets like I have martial arts. I don’t have the excuses either because I have been given instruction from some rather stellar people in this field and I just need to put in the work. #2022goals. I am apparently anticipating the recoil when I squeeze the trigger, this is probably why my Red Dot Sight was off…. #everythingisausererror
I had just finished one drill feeling pretty good about myself for getting the tourniquet on (sorry had to bring it up again) when Chuck came over with a look that made me ask, “What did I screw up?” to which he replied, “Nothing, I just want you to hit the target.” #goals
Nobody likes being the person that holds up the class and having only been to one other of Chucks courses I felt my nervousness ramp up a notch when he stopped me in the middle of running a concealment drill to focus on my crap aim. Later I would realize he did this with several people so I wasn’t being singled out, but at the time I could feel the anxiety rising, not out of fear or nerves, but failure. Failure to live up to the standard I set for myself which is usually hit 75% of the paper and at the very least run it right.
When I am trying to hit a target in front of the whole class my brain runs a bevy of thoughts in less than a thousandth of a second: Did I put a round in the chamber? Did I break the instructors’ rules by drawing before he said threat? Am I showing a toe to the bad guy? An arm? My freaking head? Am I gripping with the bottom part of my hand? Am I gripping too tight? Will the gun jump out of my hand because I am not gripping tight enough? Oh, crap I am supposed to be thinking that the target guy is firing at me…. Sh*t have I even fired a round yet? Kneeling or standing? Left foot back, or right? Squared up? Front sights on? Well crap if they are on it didn’t matter because I anticipated the recoil (insert pause in whole drill here where I am supposed to be learning what Chuck is saying about that last statement and yet my brain keeps going so nothing is absorbing…) Breathe. Don’t breathe too loudly the bad guy could hear you. Don’t smash up next to cover. Don’t freak out because you didn’t hear the ping, I mean you probably figurately shot his finger off. Should I just push this barrel up on the bad guy while in concealment? Then maybe I could hit him at five feet. See? Planning offensively…. Better put the gun away first if that’s my plan, don’t want to flag a hypothetical bystander. Everyone is looking at me and it’s not because of the Barbie shirt. Wait, have I fired a shot yet? Crap, I am not even behind the damn concealment.
This. All of it. While I am also trying to work out what I am doing wrong with my aim……
I say all of this because it plays into a very impactful, second to last maneuver for me. Chuck meant to ramp up the intensity by mentally putting my mindset into dealing with a threat at the front of the car while my kid was hypothetically in the back. He asked what my youngest child’s name was and then said I needed to put myself fully in the headspace that my sweet Rose was in the car seat behind the passenger side. I needed to fully take care of the gunman in front and safely assess the situation.
My brain shut down. In the best way possible. They weren’t getting my kid and I just moved. I wasn’t stressed because there just wasn’t any other option. I didn’t care what the others thought of me in this drill because I was going to chew the face off of any person who represented danger if I hadn’t shot them first. It was truly that simple in my head. I always knew self-defense wise I would mama-bear up. That honestly wasn’t the issue, but I don’t know if I have mentally put myself there when it comes to firearms and that was an interesting place to be. It was ironic because it was meant to initiate a stressor, but it actually calmed me down and put my brain where it needed to be. Going to try that next time with those damn daisy chain drills….
Once again I was impressed with how Chuck ran his class. There was never a drill that did not have a real-life scenario it was pulled from, and he is probably one of the best out there in explaining the whys surrounding it. He manages to take an intense class and teach it to the most mixed group I have seen. He worked with those that had injuries, those that maybe would have felt too old, not fit enough, or maybe not have enough knowledge. He worked and was successful with them all. He understands that this niche of preparedness should be available to not just LEO and those with tactical jobs, but to anyone who wants to carry.
In a twist of irony I had a woman in my last self-defense course I taught that was discussing her struggle with her ability to get to a standing position from being on her back. We worked through a couple of options, however the thing that is important to remember here is that you are going to have to do what you have to do to survive. It may hurt, it may push you beyond what you thought you were physically and mentally capable of, but a threat is not age or ability specific, it just is. You WILL have to get up, you WILL have to stop the blood flow, you WILL have to fight back, you WILL have to protect those babies, you just WILL.
My friend Shawna, who I met at the Contact course a month ago, was in this class as well. She started training three years ago when she attended Chuck’s Women’s Safety Seminar, and now has wracked upwards of 200 hours of training with him. She is 51 and spent the afternoon working and maneuvering through a thumb injury that is probably never going to be fixed. She is crushing it, all because she took that first step towards her safety in 2019. Its impressive.
There was also a man there that was 79 years old running through every drill, keeping up, showing the world there is no excuse to walk through life unable to train.
That’s why I appreciate Five-O Tactical. Chuck is working the firearms side for those that need it most and is someone I could recommend anyone can take a course from no matter what part of your life journey you are on. So gonna work on my aim because a good takeaway I gleaned from him this weekend is, “If you are unhappy with your skill, improve your skill.” It doesn’t get much more direct than that.
At Ryan Hoover’s Multiple Attacker Seminar a few months back, he stressed a point that will forever be stuck on my brain like Gorilla Glue in hair. He was working through techniques from guard (the top person in a rape position; sorry but there really is no easier way to explain it)… when he paused and asked if anyone could think of a reason why someone would just sit on the person and wait. We were an evenly split coed class and the fifteen seconds of silence as he waited us out to answer his question were quieter than Deante Wilders corner earlier this week. It was disturbing because I think that most of the women in the room had a small inkling of what he was getting at, but the men were drawing blanks. He seemed even irritated when he started to explain by saying, “Lets change the setting a bit, imagine I was behind some dark bushes somewhere…” lightbulbs went off everywhere.
Occasionally to stress a point in a new class I will bring up a volunteer and just lay sideways on them asking them to get me off. I sort of dead weight and just maintain balance, not fighting back but just moving occasionally to distribute. I have had some strong women in class who have managed to at least get a good shove in, but no one to date has been able to completely get me off them. (It is only natural that the next time I do this, I am going to get wrecked) I then point out I am approximately 125 pounds, and I am not using force. Now picture yourself with a man around 175-200 pounds. It is a tragically eye-opening thing to see or feel when you realize that a person could literally just smash you into the dirt, wait you out until your adrenaline has drained, and you flat out do not have the energy to move anymore. After that? Whatever sadistic stuff they have planned. And according to statistics, this isn’t even putting into account the high percentage of how many women freeze.
The first thing I usually try to hammer home anytime I teach a women’s a self-defense course is that I consider it a win for me if my class is a catalyst to one woman. I want the course to be a jumping off point for women, the start of their self defense journey. I get them for maybe seven total hours and that doesn’t even begin to hit the tip of the iceberg. My class is not the titanic, it’s more like a paper boat in comparison. I have attempted to pick out, based off training and research, what is the most imperative for them to learn in the most efficient and quickest way possible. My goal is for them to walk out safer than what they came in, however it is not going to be enough.
More often than not there seems to be a mentality that once women have taken a self-defense course they will stroll out of there being able to whoop a mans a$$. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, in fact what usually happens is that they go home with a bit of a pep in their step, the men in their life mildly want to exude a bit of funny dominance, and the things that were gone over in a short amount of time with little reps suddenly don’t work. They end up frustrated and write the whole thing off.
This is where I am going to ruffle some feathers if I haven’t already done so. The above paragraph is why I cringe when I hear of a 14-year-old girl who weighs 80 pounds at the most getting her black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Sure, she can land a pretty kick, spar a bit on the upright, but none of that has likely been pressure tested against a larger opponent who solely wants to hurt her. The best-case scenario for her in an attack, in the likely event she ends up on the ground, is that she gets injured, but away. What happens is this sense of, “Of course I can defend myself; I mean, they gave me a black belt…” and sure that confidence can deter causing a predator to deselect…. possibly, but in an actual physical assault? The odds are not remotely in her favor. When I start demonstrating in class on the aspects of a stranger walking speedily towards a person with the intent to harm, I haven’t had one student who does not freeze, and that is including those with martial arts backgrounds.
Gonna spice up my life a bit now by throwing out some facts, some opinions, some opinionated facts, and some facts I would like to be opinions, and if that isn’t confusing enough, I am going to talk on the merits of jiu jitsu/grappling as an avid former hater. And by spice, I mean I am going to open up the floodgates to the masses on the internet to skewer me with their facts, opinions, opinionated facts, and facts THEY would like to be opinions.
Two years ago I was teaching karate. I had just received my second-degree black belt and could not have been further away from the jiu jitsu spectrum. There was zero grappling where I was and though I had a few of the general rape position questions, it was usually brushed off under the context of, “You will never be in that position to begin with.” In a fun twist of ironic facts I now am in guard with several different people, some men, some women, a lot of strangers, several times a week.
The thing is that the statement of, “You will never be there in the first place,” is ludicrous. First, that’s an absolute, and like most things in life, there are NO absolutes. Especially in fighting, anything can happen. It may have nothing to do with you managing a bad buy, but all the other different deluging variables you need to manage in that moment. And that isn’t even a small fraction; these what ifs are a huge percentage. What’s in your hands? What is the setting? Are there other people around to help? Is there a curb? Are you between cars? Is there furniture? Hell, I had a friend point out how she changed certain parts of her self-defense program because of a scenario she was in during a shoot house drill. Her scene was waking up with a bad guy who pounced on her while she was sleeping in her bed. She said that none of what she knew in jiu jitsu at that moment was going to get 200-pound guy off her with the give of a mattress. These are important variables that need to be addressed and you cannot do it in a seven-hour course, and you certainly cannot do it if your whole system is based on the fact that you won’t go to the ground.
No, I don’t want to be on my back where there is glass and asphalt and gravel and trash, but that is not a far-off reality in the grand scheme of a fight. I have never seen one outside of a kid’s school yard tussle where two people just stood there at their four-foot distance trading blows. What is pretty factual is how fast a person can seal in ten feet of space. It’s shocking. A person who is larger wants their advantage, they want you helpless on the ground, they will nab that clinch, and if it’s not an ambush from behind it’s a quick-shot in to take you there. You aren’t standing there trying to land a head kick that will be glancing at best, it’s too fast.
So what am I saying? Just do jiu jitsu? No, but I will say it’s a more pertinent one for the smaller person and rolling is probably the best thing out there in terms of overcoming a freeze response which is a very high factor for women. When you are rolling you are reacting to a person’s movement and that is incredibly valuable in self-defense. You are gaining an in-depth understanding of force on force, sometimes with strangers of all different shapes and sizes. You are learning immediate action in a slightly stressful, but safe atmosphere when a person is on top of you.
Again please understand I am talking specifically about self-defense, not sport. You want to do taekwondo for sport, go for it, honestly any martial arts for sport, have at it. But do not let the claim be that’s all you need for self-defense. My claim is if you are looking to be safer faster, I repeat, if you are looking to be safer faster… after taking a women’s self-defense course, I am going to say managing your surroundings is the most important, and then jiu jitsu, and then striking. Keep in mind this is coming from former stand up traditional martial artist and it is strictly my opinion.
Another thing to note, if you are in a martial art or place that discourages cross training claiming their art is the only thing you need to know, skedaddle. Flee like you would the bad guy I am teaching you to run from. Knowledge is power, test it, test what you are learning, test them, be fair, and throw out what doesn’t work. Any place that is so insecure you are not allowed to go elsewhere to train will not stack up, there is no one size fits all answer.
It is nothing for a person stronger than me to basically bicep curl my person and chuck me on the ground. So why would I not want to put more emphasis on the last line of defense? Percentage wise and based off of the many scenarios I have videoed and seen, that’s where the fight goes and it goes there fast. Bada bing, bada boom, ground. Of course I don’t want to be there, I want to pay attention and avoid it at all costs but when it comes to the physicality of self-defense, well there you have it, I said what I said.
So at the end of the day I am not teaching you to kick a mans a$$ in my class. I am giving you a jumping off point and the maximum amount of information in the most efficient way I can, in the time constraint given, knowing that 98% will not continue this journey. I am teaching you to avoid, be deselected, if needed to get away, and if you end up kicking a$$ while fleeing, well then freaking awesome, stomp the throat.
“My job is to make her safer and her safer, not saying it’s not my job to make him safer, but that’s easier.” -Ryan Hoover-
#isaidwhatisaid #womensselfdefense #bjj #getaway #martialarts #raisingstrongdaughters #fightlikeagirl #notsport #thoughilikethesport #ilikeamericanos #ironhorsecoffeecompany #hashtagsthatdontrelate #numansandwich #doesanybodyreadthese?
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
As demoralizing as it is to watch myself spar on video knowing I look like a hunched over Gumby on meth I decided, meh, that’s not embarrassing enough and thought I would take a shot (literally) to one up myself. I did not disappoint.
A few months ago, I listened to Bob Keller’s interview on the Combat Story podcast and was super impressed with his outlook on leadership. I fangirled him a bit, started following him on Instagram, and looking into possibly trying to do one of his courses. A couple months ago he posted what is called his Gamut Challenge which involved a two-day ruck, run, carbine/pistol, shooting from vehicles extravaganza, and I thought, well that would certainly be out of my element. Keep in mind I did not know you actually added weight with sand on purpose to your pack to get to said 40 pounds (this seems excessive, but what do I know). I figured I would use the water in my camel back (that’s apparently a cheat), snacks, miscellaneous items such as Chapstick, beef jerky, macro bars, and skinny pop to achieve said heft. I figured I always have issues going overweight at the airport so packing a 40-pound bag shouldn’t be too hard…. I am evidently looking at this wrong…
The kicker of this is that I have maybe shot an AR once so yeah, waaaaaay out of my comfort zone. Knowing this I started asking those around me who are veterans and got some awesome feedback. Most of it was sarcastic with a lot of eyerolls; “No, Christun, that paintball MOLLE vest will get you made fun of. Don’t do it.” (Really just not wanting to spend a crap ton of cash and the idea of being able to just stick things all over my chest for easy access is pretty enticing. Hell, I may buy one just for everyday life). Alas that apparently is not a kosher dupe. My brother Andrew sold me on the vest idea (not paintball) when he said I could attach a small make-up pouch with the MOLLE rigging right to my ribcage (this is a two-day ordeal after all). Freaking awesome, he knows me well. May have to move some mag holders around though… I joked I was going to make a “Tactical-ish Barbie” shirt to wear to this thing, my military friend was genuinely concerned for me when she said, “I truly wouldn’t do that, the caliber of people attending this may find it off-putting.” I am still going to do it.
Okay all jokes aside it was very clear I was underequipped and under skilled, but “challenge” was in the name of this thing and at the risk of imposter syndrome, I wanted to at least try. This however brings me to a slight mantra of mine in Healthy Buffalo, “You don’t have to be the leader of the pack, but don’t be the last in the herd.” Only this was not really about survival (actually it is for me at least…. I believe there was something about upper body strength mentioned in the flyer too….), but I didn’t want to be the one holding anyone back. I wasn’t shooting for good, but I wouldn’t mind being slightly below average at the least, and a mild asset at the most. I feel those are good goals for me with this.
A couple weeks ago I was at Rogue Methods Close Contact Gunfighter Course that was held at the Ozark School of Gunfighting in Montreal, Missouri. I met the owner Nick Nesbitt and had mentioned to him and David Acosta (instructor for RM) that I was thinking about doing this. Both said to go for it, so putting this out in writing that if it ever occurs and I totally bomb, their faith in me was misplaced….. However Nick said that he could teach me carbine. I found out later he had assumed I had shot a rifle more than a couple of times…. You know what they say about assuming…. I thought this would be a rather good way for a break in normalcy and to not super embarrass myself in front of multiple people. So I scheduled a private lesson.
Nick is a former Marine Raider who shot big guns. I am currently waiting on his message in email to give me the more technical version of this…. He spent a few years in private security before striking it out of his own and building a gun range (he is apparently stellar at dozer work as well). OSOG is settled on a dirt road, not quite out in the middle of nowhere, between pretty forest and fields; perfect place to perfect your pew pew expertise. I was initially impressed with the lengths he had gone to when explaining his safety protocols. He had hospital time down to the nanosecond and tac-med covered in case of an emergency. His speech had me convinced he could stich up my bullet hole and I could continue the class, it was that good. I very much appreciate that in the case I royally screw up.
Nick is very welcoming with a great sense of humor, which for me is paramount when learning because I will totally own cracking a joke to alleviate stress, probably to a fault. I showed up around noon we went over AR mechanics everything, and then got to work. I have now decided I have a future as an Army Ranger… just kidding, I look like Elmer Fudd walking with a rifle. Nick explained something about heel to toe walking, I haughtily exclaimed I was in marching band in high school, so I got this, and then proceeded to become a hated Looney Tune. Cool. It is a good thing he is patient, though he didn’t hold anything back when explaining why my duck walking needed correction via video. I can appreciate that.
We ran through several drills over four hours. I can easily say I thought I would absolutely hate carbine, it was just something to challenge myself, now I have plans for building my own. I had an absolute blast, to be honest I felt more in control with a rifle than when I first started with pistols. Nick was a very clear teacher and could easily catch and see where things needed to be fixed and tweaked and then was successful. We went from an all over berm spray (okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it was about eight inches) to about four fingers up the spine on a paper target by the end of the day while moving, albeit slowly.
I have kind of figured out over the past few years that I am not going to just walk in and pick something up as a newbie. I have though, a couple of times, *cough *cough *room clearing, given certain crafts a discredit by thinking along those lines. Mastery was far from my goal for carbine, I had set a very clear one in my head which was basically learn enough to go home and work the kinks out myself. Nick helped me achieve that and then some. It was not easy for me to get to a point where I was completely comfortable around pistols, I had assumed rifles would be the same. However, Nick let me work through at my own pace what I needed to sus out myself and move on when ready. There was never the pressure that goes along with trying not to be the one to hold everyone back when in a group. That was a nice change of pace.
I freaking loved carbine, honestly probably more than the pistol. I am very excited to see how far I can take this in the future, fighting, force on force, and so on forth. Also please be expecting an eating crow article on RDS because #pointandshoot. Man I fought that one for a while….
Ozark School of Gunfighting has big plans for their future including an outdoor and indoor shoot house, more ranges, a 360 range (it was explained to me the need… still not computing), a million-yard range (not that long but it was a lot) #iamnosniper, a store, and much more. Nick is awesome to work with and has so many different classes to offer and the background to teach. He has a very good instructors’ mindset that instantly puts a person at ease with safety and clear and concise direction. Whether you are new to firearms or wanting to brush up on some skills he offers a plethora of classes that are scheduled on Instagram and Facebook so check him out. I will be waiting here on pins and needles for Mattel’s cease and desist order for copyright t-shirt violations while polishing up a newly acquired skill.
While driving home I looked up the Gamut Challenge and saw that it was sold out. If Bob ever reads this, he will probably think. “Oh, thank God…” I was disappointed, but there is another one in fall of 2022 so more time to prepare and get a second Barbie t-shirt made for him.
#wascallywabbits #imaketacticalawkward #tacticalish #expensivehobbies #pewpew #mollevestmakeupbag #idontknowwhatiamdoing
There is a phrase used when taking Knife Control Concepts that, outside of flow, is kind of one of the more foundational concepts of the program. It’s rather crass so I will give you a more elegant version of it and let you use your imagination, “Keep your crotch in the dirt.” When teaching self-defense, I emphasize movement over moves because reaction verses response is more effective in my opinion. A person during an altercation is not likely to pull from their brain and execute productive exact moves to counter the other, at least not without a massive amount of repetition. If you throw in adrenaline dumps and freeze responses, “Flight of the Sword D,” against sewing machine stabbing is probably not going to fly. Pun intended. Its going to be an ugly scramble at the very least. That is why I love the KCC curriculum so much and why I am so pumped to see it in action with other things.
With Knife Control Concepts you are learning to use the other persons energy against them, to trace the weapon, and react in small ways for big response to their body movement. That last concept is very Jiu Jitsuie (making that up). When grappling you tend to want to view it as a puzzle, not muscling; setting a person up for where YOU want them to go. I have obviously not reached that zenith in this art because #whitebelt4eva, and I spend most of my time trying to get out of side control while not getting my chest caved in, but the movement over brute strength is what makes it useful for smaller people. KCC standup and ground modules follow this philosophy and then go farther by adjusting it to managing a person yielding a weapon. That makes for a major game changer, one I have felt.
Back in my karate days I had a messy at best, theory in my head; based on my size, if I wanted to increase my success rate, I needed to learn to react to a person’s movement, not the assault as a whole. I didn’t know how to word or honestly even phrase it in my own brain, but was starting to see that learning multi-faceted specific moves to counter someone else in a fight created too many variables. Anything past two on three gets jumbled and I haven’t found the effectiveness if the other person isn’t just in the right spot holding exactly the right position. The flow of reaction is what gives you more of a leg up in a fight than a move dedicated to a person stabbing you in one specific overhanded way.
I have yet to take a course where what I have learned wasn’t worth the money I spent. In fact, I have gone back a couple of times to the same one to try and pick up what I missed the first time around only to realize, damn, I need to take it a third or fourth time. That being said, Knife Control Concepts is like the glue that ties all of them together for me.
A few years ago, I remember analyzing adrenal responses and testing out how to problem solve physically in an altercation where that becomes the case. Later I would learn even in the pre-game of a possible assault your brain can fire off funny things, tunnel vision can occur, heart rate can affect thinking and so on forth. Hell, more often than not, I am executing things wrong and definitely have many more losses. If there ARE wins, they are usually wrapped up in the losses. KCC helps with that as well. I found myself just doing what needed to be done, rather than thinking of an objective. In a recent pistol class, Rogue Methods Close Contact Gunfighter, I was able to see this more clearly. Of course the goal was to get the gun and shoot the other person, but the mid-fight thought process was reactionary, almost trusting the flow would get me to where I needed to go regardless, and that helped in remaining calm which in turn kept heart rate lowered. Not saying I wasn’t winded, I totally collapsed heavily at the end of each one out of breath and possibly dying, but there was not a point in any of those that I felt I could not go on. That is huge
I hate/love watching videos of myself sparring, boxing, or evolutions. Even if I am feeling confident in how it’s going, if I feel fast, if I feel efficient, I will watch later and can point out a thousand mistakes and wonder at how I could feel so BA in the moment and look so sloppy on video. And those are the ones I feel good about. But on the flip side I get to see where it went wrong and how to improve. (Note: I am aware I said “feel” like a thousand times in this paragraph, I tried to problem solve this and it just wasn’t happening.)
This concept of movement was proven to me a couple weekends ago, so much so that I felt I needed to commend even more what KCC has going on. In this close contact pistol fighting course I had several different drills and evolutions fighting for, trying to draw, attempting to prevent their draw, tracing which hand their gun was in, malfunctions and more, and the biggest thing I can say is that the flow drills from this knife course seamlessly glided into pistol altercations and it was amazing. Not saying I won, I lost a lot if you watched any of the videos, but being able to react to my partner and stay on where his gun was, at all times, was a win for me and showed just how revolutionary this knife course is.
Even more so to this point is what happened when I didn’t do what I had been taught. Eli and Mike, during the ground portion of KCC, spoke of it being natural for a Jiu Jitsu practitioner to want to slide the leg through from side control to position the crotch, face up while maintaining pressure on the body, for more control (I have done this in class, and I am sure there is a name for what it is… I don’t know it). One of the main takeaways from KCC is back to the crass statement from the beginning, keep your crotch in the dirt. The reasoning for this, according to Aaron is, “for the most part where your pelvis is pointed, is where your power is.” This is key for smaller people that struggle to maintain even a small amount of control. I must be able maintain a base, effectively trace the weapon, and you will see in the attached video, the moment I turned my pelvis to the sky at about the 40 second mark is when the fight went to crap.
I am not just blowing smoke when I say KCC is truly a necessary binding agent for fighty things. What is even more awesome, is that it is something I could recommend to anyone, no matter where their walk in martial arts/combatives is, and they could glean massive amounts of instantly applicable information to bring back to whatever they are pursuing. Give it a shot, KCC is hot. (couldn’t use “stab,” because, you know, it wouldn’t rhyme….so yeah.)
#selfdefense #usefeelalot #KCCishot #pistolfighting #knifefighting #knifedefense #losesomelosesome #reactionnotresponse #stabbymcstabberson #keepyourcrotchinthedirt
One of my favorite songs is called, Murder in the City, by the Avett Brothers. Based on the title some are put off immediately and when I call the song sweet and impactful, they are perplexed. Others will just look at me and say, “Yeah Christun, for you that makes sense….” Either way the first time I listened to the lyrics was ironically also the first time I had actually heard of the band; some friends had a couple extra tickets and wanted to know if Ryan and I would like to go. Three Mango White Claws in, beautiful outdoor Arkansas Music Pavilion setting, perfect 74-degree weather, this song comes on and it has both Ryan and I dropping the waterworks worse than me getting bested by the double end bag.
The Avett Brothers became a thing in our family with a goal of mine to get all nine of our kids to go to a concert together. A couple weeks ago during an evening monsoon we met said goal. Our oldest two daughters are grown, living in other towns, and now have children of their own so getting to do a family event like this takes major planning especially now that one has moved a few hours away. We made it happen and it was an unforgettable night. We were drenched, but I had brought large trash bags for the kids because #concertplasticisexpensive. Ironically my daughter Amy took the girls to the bathroom and a man stopped her asking her where she got the kids ponchos. She replied with, “Uhm, they are trash bags.” So yeah, we make mass amounts of children and redneck stylin look good.
Our family household dynamics change a lot. And I mean, A LOT. When we moved to Missouri five years ago both our oldest girls had gotten married, moved out, and it was down to just the younger four while we homesteaded our property. We then found there were two more siblings that would be coming to us, an infant and a three-year-old thus we went back up to six under 14 in the home. That at the time seemed doable in my mind, and though it was hard building our house and managing that many, we made it work. I still took them all grocery shopping with me despite the looks of, “Geez lady, are you trying to overpopulate the world?”
However, the arrival of Rose a couple years later made something that was manageable somehow not anymore. I started thinking more of my ability to keep that many safe in an event of an attack, active shooter, attempted abduction, etc. I had a special needs older son and then like hella kids to track in public. I hit overwhelmed with no warning. Where before I would almost look at someone defiantly as they gawked at my brood in public, suddenly the stares were draining. We had the buddy system, we talked constantly of safety, but very quickly started to hermit on ourselves because it just took too much out of me.
This actually became a good thing because we started a more divide and conquer way of life and it gave such a large group of kids more one on one time with mom or dad. We became well known for our thousand crate pick-up orders at our local Wal-Mart and did drive throughs more often. We were meeting the needs in our home differently than how we would have in the past, but for the better part of a year I probably did not venture off the property with all the youngest seven in tow. Out of all my adjustments to kid dynamics in my home, Rose was the hardest, but eventually we got our stride back.
When we move about in public my number one job is to protect. These are my cubs; you come near them with the intent to harm and I will do what it takes (most likely eat your face off and then sharpen my teeth on your skull) to eliminate a threat. With the sheer number in my brood, I have to be more technical and engage as a unit with the older kids in order to be safe. Each person has a buddy, according to their age, they are responsible for when out and about, and from there we roll. A few months ago I did an article on teaching your children safety measures when on outings. Article here. This time I want to build on that when attending large events like fairs and concerts.
The plan was to meet Chelsea and Amy at the Walmart AMP, so we took the younger seven to dinner prior. While eating we went over our normal talk/reminders of who was whose buddy for the night and protector mode for the older ones, Lili with Zetta, Gratton, Lila and Cole as a group, Henry with Mom, and Rose with Dad. When walking through the crowd you must be by, or if younger, holding the hand of your person. We talked about safe people, police officers, security guards, women with children, etc. We discussed finding hiding spots if needed. For this concert we went over and took a few extra steps to help with the safety of our family.
What is important with kids is to not overload them. I don’t want them paranoid, they wouldn’t enjoy the concert that way. Hell, I don’t want to be paranoid. I want to sob happily and gratefully listening to that tearjerker song while I look lovingly at my trash bag covered kids. We run small drills all the time as games in public so going to a concert only added a couple smaller tweaks in case of an emergency. They already understand protector mode and buddy system and we are basically a large crowd in and of itself. They already like to show me hiding places and point out cars that are on in the parking lot. We do the reps in everyday life as a game so that it is still very simple when trying to be prepared for a larger event. Too many plans create confusion in adults, let alone children.
Operation “Take All the Erwin Kids to a Concert,” was a success. They danced and laughed and honestly, I think sweet Rose had the most fun entertaining everyone around her with her mad three-year-old social skills. They got to spend the precious time needed with their older siblings and I got to cry in wonderment yet again at my beautiful babies, all nine of them as they destroy a bag of kettle corn like zombies. Freaking phenomenal. “Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” Avett Brothers- Murder in The City
#hellakids #adoptionstories #drillingwithkids #familysafety #avettbrothers #murderinthecity #trashbagsforthewin #manueveringmybuffaloherd #momofnine #buddysystem #theyaremyzombies
I am supposed to be working on an article about concert safety with children…. but today we are going to interrupt my scheduled broadcast with a rant. No, that’s not entirely accurate, it’s a frustration plea that makes me mentally beat my chest in anguish and tear my hair in absolute helplessness. A news article came out this morning on the sentencing of Dr. Mark Oesterle from Fayetteville, AR which is about 30 miles from my home. Oesterle was a teacher and an assistant principal who was charged with three counts of sexually assaulting a minor in 2015. It is unclear if it was multiple children because to be honest the journalism isn’t really all that forthcoming with information, but what is clear is that one of the children he touched was fourteen-year-old girl.
My Lili is fourteen. She is smiley and snarky and funny and witty and innocent. I am open with her about the world. She knows I will answer any questions openly and honestly, and though I am not a sugar coater; she still has a very rainbow outlook on life. I truly don’t want to take that away; just being an adult will do that enough. Is she learning how to navigate the world? absolutely, but she is 14, hell her brain will not fully develop for another 11 years.
This man is 49. He has a doctorate giving him a title. He was in an authoritative position with a job to protect and educate children. He is gross. He was originally given one year in jail, but now will spend six years free on probation. I mean, he must register as a sex offender; oh, and he also cannot contact the victims because for some reason that is not a given when you touch little girls.
I just can’t. I speak often of a teacher I had in eighth grade who would touch and massage our shoulders while taking a test or working on homework. I would have been that age. It was uncomfortable. Even though it felt dirty I didn’t say anything and honestly didn’t even know speaking up was an option. His touch was just something that skeeved us out and we laugh/joked after class about how much we hated it in a minor effort to cope. You cannot tell me that teacher couldn’t read the cringey body language of a 13-year-old that shrugged her shoulders tight and pulled in on herself. It was predatory. No man, unrelated to a young girl or boy, and even that is debatable, should be consistently touching students in intimate ways like a massage.
So here is what is worse. The system failed these girls. As I said the journalism is not super informative about what happened, but what is known is that he touched her breast. A 49-year-old pervert touched the likely not fully developed breast of a 14-year-old girl. He obviously doesn't feel bad about it because he accepted the plea bargain for his crimes and gets six years’ probation.
I was not that brave, I never told anyone, none of us did. Now as parents I like to think we are doing better on educating our children on body autonomy, enough for these young girls to speak up against someone with the title of Dr. in their name who held a higher position of authority in their life than just mere teacher. They were courageous, they called him out, they didn’t just pray that would be the end of it and avoid him. They spoke out and the system said screw you.
I know enough about court and saw enough in foster care that if they are saying “touched her breast,” it was likely more. (Look up Mercutio Torres. Actually don’t. It will just ruin your day knowing that it was soooooo much more heinous than what horrors were printed). And here is the deal, even if it was just the one charge of touching her breast, he still deserves more than six years’ probation. He chose to put his grubby hands on a little girl. HE CHOSE. He is a grown a** man who made the conscious decision while in a high position of authority over these girls to at the very least use coercion and be in their space. That’s called grooming.
We are supposed to be making it better for our girls and it is articles like this that make me feel I am beating my bloody head against a concrete wall because how can I make a difference when this is a possible outcome. The system basically spit in these girls faces saying, “Good job, you spoke up, meh. I mean his character and reputation are ruined, what more could you possibly want? He can’t speak to you legally, so let’s tie this all up in a neat little package for you to spend the rest of your life to dwell and roll around in your head second guessing yourself.” Reputation and not speaking to the victims are consequences of action, not punishment. Let’s call it what it is. His only “punishment” for groping a 14-year-old is probation.
Also, he can’t speak to his victims legally. Yeah, that’s totally going to be a deterrent to a man who obviously doesn’t feel any remorse for his crimes in the first place since he entered a plea bargain for a lesser sentence. He is going to be mad HIS life is ruined when he gets done with that piddly-assed “sentence,” not that he ruined theirs. That alone should cause concern for safety on a bigger scale. Side note: if you are the parent of one of the victims, please reach out to me, it would be an honor to work with your daughters on self-defense.
Last night I stood in front of eight girls ranging in ages 13 to 19 and spoke to them about protecting themselves. It was the start of our seven-hour course, and they were amazing. They were eager to try and learn, a little shy, and probably intimidated a bit by the material. Next week we go over consent and grooming and here we are. I can show them and tell them how to be brave, be better than I was at 13 and make a difference. However, according to this news article, if they pull on their inner strength and make a stand against sexual assault, he will be roaming free in six years; but don’t worry, he can’t contact you legally. The message being sent is, “Why bother saying anything in the first place and take the chance of making him madder to retaliate worse later in life?” It is so damn tragic. That sentence is showing a reflection of the crime and it will make these girls question in the future the validity of their claims. Its sick. You get more time in the slammer for marijuana.
Here is his picture, because he will be done in a little over half a decade, roaming free and probably not feeling one iota of guilt over his perversion. memorize it if you have daughters, I know I will.
So, these victims, mid-puberty, maybe three years out of playing pretend with dolls, old enough to want to be thought of as a little mature, but still confused over body changes, were brave enough, had the family support enough, to just speak and he was given six years’ probation. Awesome. By the time he is finished, they will be mid college living a whole other stressful time in their lives, learning even more about themselves/their sexuality, and then they get the added stress about this creep roaming free who is now lumped in with people who got caught publicly urinating. Because #thisisourjusticesystem. Also, lawyer of his, I pray you don’t have daughters and if you do have them reach out to me so at least someone can teach them about body autonomy and grooming.
#heartbroken #justice #speakupgirls #frustratedbeyondbelief #wecandobetter #pissedmama
I have to hand it to them, both places I have taken Rogue Methods Close Contact Gunfighter Courses have been nestled in majestic sandwiches. The one in Kentucky a couple of months ago, and this one last weekend close to Lebanon, MO had settings of sheer natural beauty and made for pleasant days. I had seen RM was in my neck of the woods for the weekend and with the prospect of no plane travel or hotel stay, I snatched up the opportunity for a quick two-and-a-half-hour jaunt over to Ozark School of Gunfighting.
David Acosta was teaching Fieldcraft Survivals Gunfighter Pistol 1 on Saturday and Carbine 1 on Sunday with a Saturday evening of close contact pistol fighting for Rogue Methods. David had been an instructor-in-training at my last course and this go-round he was running the show. He didn’t disappoint before, and he didn’t this time either. He made the class his and I loved the inclusion of personal stories that related to what we were learning from his time on a SWAT team in Connecticut. (Side note, I legit just looked up what the acronym SWAT actually stood for. I had some vague notion that the T stood for, “team” and I didn’t want to write team twice. I was waaaaaay off…. Now I know).
I showed up around two pm on a ridge out in the middle of nowhere Missouri, AKA Montreal. I say this, but this place is actually easier to find on google maps than my own home, so success. The range is large and graveled and according to the owner Nick Nesbitt, has some rather fun plans for expansion. He spoke of being able to eventually shoot 1000 yards and I smiled and thought man, I am just shooting for (no pun intended), hitting the paper at like 20. You know, since I came equipped again with my six-round pistol and three extra mags, but hey I had a 5.11 belt…. I toned down the colors this time, no tie-dye hat. I wore black trying to blend in, got asked if I was an instructor again (it must be the hot pink notebook), I laughed hysterically, took out my Ziplock bag of pew pews, loaded up, and was ready to rock and roll.
Thus starts the Ego Injury Report portion of our program…. David politely asked if I was carrying my extra mags backward on purpose in a kind roundabout way of letting me know, “Hey Christun, its very apparent you haven’t shot since the last time we worked with you and you have likely forgotten anything we taught…” which was true. Here in Missouri the ticks are super bad and my redneck range on my property is in a gully. I haven’t wanted to dig out our green men targets from the weeds so yeah… here we are. That being said, I haven’t fired my gun since Kentucky, but I am not going to tear myself down too bad because I have been immersed in other training. So in the midst of the first drill where I automatically grabbed for my replacement mag from where it was supposed to be on the left (surprise, they weren’t there) and realized, oh, that’s what David meant; I did what I always do, I cried…. Just kidding, I had a freaking blast. I took my moisturizing lip tint out of my pocket and moved my mag holder to the left side where it belonged.
I love watching things evolve, that means constant reassessment and change. It is what makes great things greater. It also means I can take a course several times over and learn just as much the third or fourth as I did the first. This time CC Gunfighter was even more streamlined and organized into what are the more imperative things you need to know when in close combat with a firearm. This is a four-hour course so they have to really stack it in and they manage it rather artfully. We started with live fire drills and then moved into body and head positioning. I have had issues working out over the year of keeping someone from being able to draw their weapon. David started with a hand target glancing drill while keeping posture and pushing. He then moved it to trapping the hand going for the gun and working with leverage which was my problem. It was repetitive (which I am always a fan of,) simple, effective, and helped with tracing later.
We then moved on to a clinch boxing drill which I very much thought imperative. With the time constraints of a shorter class, understanding the concepts of a getting hit is important. That liver shot from someone at 60% might stun enough for a person to grasp the shock value. To repeat myself from several articles, it is better to get hit in class by someone you like than to feel it first in a real-world attack and freeze. Toss in a firearm, yours or theirs, and the stakes pop. My partner snaked a couple good shots during this leaving me wondering if my body would filter that after class glass of wine…
The drills were unique, but useful. The evolutions switched around, but nothing was unrealistic. It is an easy possibility a gun might be dropped, and you have to problem solve in getting it, no matter who’s it is. You may be stuck on your back unable to draw, that’s real life too. I very much appreciate David’s approach to teaching and his ability to stay on topic, especially knowing my questions can stray…. David has a background in fun bladed things as well and you can see that transfer over into how he incorporates the drills. In fact, I am so blown away by how much that transferred, that I am writing a separate article on that next in relation to other recent training.
I had mentioned later in the Rogue Methods video AAR about wishing the course was longer. The thing is, after sitting on it, I disagree with myself. The course is 260$ for four hours of managing in-your-face gun fighting issues. It is a glossing, but what they gloss on: quick malfunctions, being punched, clinch, squaring up, posture, Christun get rid of your tiny little Glock (paraphrasing), positioning, and the physicality of what it would take in that life threatening altercation are paramount. You get what you need to get, and it is done well. That price honestly puts it on the average spectrum of what I have seen for cost. It is a super physical, super quick course with approximately eight force-on-force evolutions and other drills; it is enough. You don’t spend all your brainpower trying to figure out what the most important thing is you need to remember. You get the teaching then you get the beating. Also weird side note, I expected my neck and forehead to hurt, that’s par for the course for these things, but my small upper arm shoulder muscles are sore and I box so that’s new……
Is there a possibility for streamlining it more? Absolutely, every course can, but I appreciate the fact that I could pop over on a Saturday evening, and it didn’t take over my entire weekend. Though I probably should have used that Saturday morning to finally take the Fieldcraft Survival Gunfighter 1 I missed out the first time….
Huge shout out to Ozark School of Gunfighting. They have some fun stuff planned for their future and Nick is a phenomenal guy. Since I got there later than everybody else, I got the cliff notes version of the range emergency safety protocol, and it was still well thought out and planned. Definitely check them out on IG. I will for sure be back for training. His wife must be a saint too because even though I did try to sweep up after myself, there was a lot of grass snaked into my hair when I used their bathroom. Also, seriously their house smelled of all things fantastically fall. When you are coming from the teenage aromatic, drenched in musk, cloud my daughters “lightly” spritz all over the house that is reminiscent of generic body spray, worse-than-what-would-be-a-female-Axe-version-of-Cool-Water, but not really (because, think cheaper); the Marshmallow Pumpkin handwash in the Nesbitt home was a blessed break.
So I didn’t cry. Heck, freaking yeah. I could have been shot 30 times with sim rounds and if that was the outcome, man success. I drove home on an absolute high from this seminar. My fellow students were amazing, took my theatrics in stride, and I made (ahem forced) new friendships. Had the grossest port-a-potty conversation I have heard to date and that is saying something Matt…. While driving home I debriefed/mentally dumped on my husband who laughingly asked how it was rolling around in a field with five men out in BFE …. I told him I am visualizing a new t-shirt idea…
Thank you again David and Rogue Methods. Awesome day, great course, will be back.
#pistolfighting #selfdefense #dothejiujitsu #simrounds #hugsandpunches #roguemethods #ozarks #lovemystate #livershots #newfriends #imyourhuckleberry
My husband has this giant bony knot where his shoulder meets his collarbone courtesy of a high school basketball injury. If you have done any clinch work in training you know that this makes him literally the worst partner to run drills with, and then with him being my spouse the irritation factor jumps exponentially. I knew going into this weekend that my forehead was going to constantly be scraping roughly across that calcified satanic knot reaching a new level of suck and I was not wrong.
I love to write Ego Injury Reports. They are a reflective and honest way to evaluate myself, to really look at where I fail. Since matrimony is basically one big ego injury report I thought I would take the time to evaluate my husband Ryan….. just kidding, I prefer to stay married by the end of this.
This last winter we were holed up in southwest Missouri for two weeks very similar to Game of Thrones, “winter is coming.” It was pretty much -75 degree weather which basically puts me in a foul mood anyway and then we could not escape. We could not train and our only chance to hit mitts or spar was with each other. We posted a few giggling clips after I spent a good hour editing out the irritation snips at each other. We both had separated to different sides of the shop; him with his vodka, me with a cabernet.
When we started karate several years ago we very quickly understood that we would not be taking private lessons with each other. We both went at a very different pace and interpreted in very different ways. He was going to be stronger in areas I wasn’t and therefore would want to focus on that and vice versa. It wasn’t long after when we also realized we were not going to work out as regular training partners if one of us wanted to live. To be honest he is likely better than me I martial arts so I would probably hold him back, also I was approaching it from a very different perspective which later comes to life with Healthy Buffalo.
Instead of trying to tie this together right now, I am going to pull a literary sin and just jump ship onto a new topic and try to bundle it up later. So bear with me…..
Take the same course or training weekends more than once if offered. I cannot begin to tell you how much I glean the second or third time around. I swear I learn the same amount or more in skill and knowledge while also feeling calm and capable of more retention. This is why when I was asked by a friend to come to Virginia Beach in September for another Knife Control Concepts course while en route to attend the previous one in Ohio, it really didn’t take that much convincing. I marketed it to Ryan with the idea of this being our 15thanniversary trip and here we are.
To say I was intimidated by the level of complete bad a$$es that attended is a ginormous understatement. Some I already knew and had talked trash to, so I was able to somewhat assuage my fear of getting my arm completely snapped off. I handled my terror like I always do, jokes and talking smack while rocking my White Belt 4-EVA rash guard because at the very least I will own it. Looking around the room there were five Jiu Jitsu blackbelts (a couple a few times over), several brown, I think two were well recognized champions in competition, most were black belts in Krav Maga, a handful owned their own super successful combatives businesses, and these were just the 15 students. All here to learn in-the-grey area knife defense from Aaron Janetti, Mike Cheney, and Eli Knight.
I always joke that to own a martial arts/combatives business there is always some degree of narcissism a person has that plays into it. You are, after all, trying to sell yourself and your brand; some just hide that trait better than others. The thing is, you would think with the sheer talent in that room one would suffocate on the aroma of egos, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I would venture to say, it was like some martial arts utopian star world council where everyone worked together for the greater good of the Dark Moon. I probably should have stood off to the side holding a fern.
It is very rare that you get to watch magic unfold and that’s exactly what happened. I was honored to witness those that have earned their right over and over to teach, submit into student mode to better themselves, and to also work with each other to improve what was already impressive anyway.
The first course in Ohio was well put together. I have been in many training weekends, some more organized than others, and KCC is top notch in its skill building on skill concepts. I appreciate how Aaron manages to work in and explain how to be a good partner for each drill. This is incredibly helpful and assisted with keeping blood off the mats between my husband and I. Aaron also understands size disparity and works drills for smaller people so that one can actually pull it off. I have been in countless places where the situation was a one-size fits all move that according to physics wouldn’t work for me, so the clarity of that is monumental. I cannot shoot for control on a larger person because muscling my way through is futile, I must work with their flow, and that’s the foundation of this knife defense program.
What is amazing though is the concept of ego. In Ohio there were around 35 students taking this course. At the end we did a debrief where everyone spoke about the things they learned and were asked to also mention a way the course could improve. Mike, Aaron, and Eli received advice from 30 some odd people and didn’t even flinch. In fact, they embraced it with open arms and improved on something I truly thought didn’t need improvement. Later in Virginia Beach it showed a much more streamlined program, some fat (that I never saw in the first place) had been trimmed, and the teachers of flow, flowed flawlessly. All because they understand that if you vacuum out your ego, growth compounds.
It’s the same with marriage. After fifteen years I don’t have it figured out by any means, but I do know this, anytime I have set my pride aside to work out a problem, it always ends up benefitting the union. I come from a long family line of wanting to be right at all costs so you can imagine what a fun shock it was in 2006, a couple months after we said our “I do’s,” where we went at each other like feral cats at a bible college in northern England. It wasn’t until much later, during our foster care years, where I realized I could rely on his strengths in communication, he learned from my bull dogging basically everything in life, and together we could get stuff done. With our powers combined…. We make a great team when we put aside our egos and focus on the task at hand. We still don’t make good training partners, I totally wanted to wipe the mats with his face several times last weekend, but as far as teammates go, with a general goal in mind, we can usually face those head on.
I have been asked if I have an issue with my husband rolling with other women in jiu jitsu. On the contrary, I encourage it. One of the best traits with Ryan is that he is fair and can put people at ease. Often, he has come home from a class telling me about a woman he has rolled with and when I meet her, I am grateful he did. He can be the safe space rolling partner for those that are intimidated to be there. I can’t tell you how many times I have sparred, rolled, or trained with a man in class or a course and if there is one spark of me getting the upper hand, the ante is upped. Their percentage of aggression escalates a tick and if they somehow failed to block a hit and I land one, their next punch will come much harder at me. I can physically watch it happen, the roll of the shoulders, the visible shake it off, and the internal mental monologue of, “oh it’s on now.” These are the moments where I brace, knowing that the training which already balances precariously on the edge of safety because I am learning to fight, now has moved over into a possible unsafe situation for me if I am not careful in my defense. Their ego gets in the way and at the very least they aren’t learning anything other than being a bully and getting angry, and at the most they hurt someone with their disappearance of self-control.
So I welcome my husband rolling or sparring with other women, because his strength is a lack of ego. He doesn’t have to prove himself to anyone and just hulk smash her into the mat, and because of that he makes a safe partner for females. Why would I not want that for other women to learn? It would literally defeat my purpose with Healthy Buffalo.
Here’s the deal, I watched a brown belt in BJJ tweak knife defense groundwork to a 3rd degree black belt with over 25 years of experience who if you stuffed all his medals from competitions into a bag it would probably weigh more than the car door of a 1960’s Buick. Yes, Ben I Facebook stalked you and if I knew more about jiu jitsu, I would have probably fan girled you a bit. Ben valued what Aaron had to teach and ego played no role. (Side note, if we are in class together I have googled you, some may call it stalking, I call it research). Later I would watch Ben do some weird turtle-monkey, latch-on roll thing that looked painful while the three teachers of this course watched probably wondering how to incorporate it into their next seminar.
This wasn’t the only time I witnessed this happen that weekend, they all came together teachers and students for a common goal; they believe that Knife Control Concepts has worth therefore they want to learn as well as help it continually be better. Craig Douglas, very well known for pistol and knife fighting especially in a car and confined spaces, was also a student in attendance; he said this course was, “the next big thing.” He was there right alongside everyone else learning, tweaking things, and offering ideas. When you have a genuine desire to make people safer your ego does not come into play because that goal is selfless. Whatever minor narcissistic trait you might have ends up not mattering.
I have hung out with Aaron, Eli, and Mike on a couple different occasions, held some fun conversations, and I can tell you this, their level of instruction is second to none. They require no one to hold them to a God like status in their gyms. Both Mike and Eli have a soft-spoken way of teaching that is direct, Aarons sense of humor is stellar, all three are incredibly humble individuals, and because of that it bleeds into this huge project they have been working on for the better part of three years. This makes it a top shelf knife defense program according to several people in that room.
So the same goes for marriage, if you want it to be better you have to set aside the desire to be right and only want what will make it grow. We had one particular drill where I should obviously know what I am doing since I have taken the instructors training course and am a veteran from the Ohio seminar (insert eye roll at myself here.) I had a position I couldn’t make work and it was frustrating me. Ryan told me to hold my head pinned to the opposite shoulder and I scoffed. This was his first time taking this class; he couldn’t possibly know what he is talking about. (This must sound familiar to many married couples, though maybe minus the knife fighting aspect…) We called Aaron over to ask and he promptly said, “head to the opposite shoulder.” I did make sure to tell Ryan he was right, albeit maybe a little grudgingly. I wish I could say this was the only time this happened that weekend, it wasn’t. Just like drills I require repetition to grasp many things.
I was able to pick brains of some incredibly awesome and talented people that Saturday evening over drinks. I listened to business talk, combat talk, fighting talk, smack talk, I inserted my own talk, in fact you can’t get me to shut up most of the time… it was amazing. In the presence of so many reputable and well-known people in their area of expertise, there were no ego’s. There was laughter, crass jokes (I learned some verbiage that I can’t repeat, like ever and I HAVE a potty mouth), crazy stories, whiskey and wine, but not an ego in sight.
The next day I was again in a room, that if you added up the years, there was more than a couple centuries worth of experience in BJJ. We had a couple successful youtubers well known in their art, some navy seals, Krav Maga teachers, Combatives instructors, I literally have never felt safer. Honestly, I wished a bad guy would have walked in that front door and start something because my overactive imagination banked on it looking like a scene from Avengers while I hung in the corner with my palm frond. If these people can manage to check their ego at the door and in their lives, you can manage to not get pissy if a chick lands a hit. Me? I plan on teaching Ben an arm bar next time I see him.
Ryan managed to pack his cup this time, I ate my weight in pulled pork and crow, I got to meet up with old friends, acquire new awesome ones, likely gleaned more in class than I did the first time around, basically have a newborn soft spot on my forehead from Ryan’s freak shoulder bump, had a few glasses of some good prosecco, got tossed to the floor several times, and tried to stab my husband for ten hours. All in all I would say that’s a pretty successful 15 year anniversary weekend.
Squash your arrogance you might learn something and make the world a better place.
#scottiamstillnottalkingtoyou #whitebelt4-EVA #fangirl #KnifeControlConcepts #noegosallowed #youaintthatcool #stabbymcstabberson #hugsandpunchs #pewpewsandstabs #vocabularygrowth #bleachmyears #shivworks #virginiabeachjiujitsu #winedown #everythinghurts #basebalbatgrip #seatbelt #anniversary #thecouplethatfightstogetherstaystogether #itworkssomeofthetimemostofthetime #nopiddlef*cking #unsafespaces
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