Ah, the OODA loop!


Time to R.E.A.C.T.

Time to R.E.A.C.T.
This is a repost from a long-time WCC associate and sometimes training partner, Quikshift.
For the original, go here.

This past Saturday I did my first R.E.A.C.T. seminar. The acronym stands for Reality Environmental Adrenal Conditioning Training. In other words, they stress you the hell out to simulate a real fight-or-flight situation and let you talk or fight your way out of it.

The class consisted of roughly 16 students and 10 instructors. After a short discussion on when it is appropriate to resort to the use of force (only if your life is threatened) the instructors began to ramp up the pressure.

Our first illustration was having a fellow classmate stare you down from kissing-distance to get familiar with that uncomfortable feeling you should have when someone has invaded your personal space. After getting to see what an uncomfortable feeling it really is to have someone nose-to-nose with you, the class was broken up into two groups. The next exercise was to have a fellow student walk up and ask an unwanted question, and be rebuked. A simple drill, but already there were lessons to learn. For instance, always to maintain eye contact, keep your hands up as soon as your personal space begins to be encroached upon and to maintain that personal space cushion even if you have to move to do it. Why? Because very bad things happen not when someone is outside of reach, but when someone has you within arms length. This lesson would become very clear as the day wore on.

After a few rounds we all lined up and did a walk-by, and were approached by an instructor and “woofed” at. In other words, someone would walk up to you or by you and begin bothering you. They might want you to buy something, ask for money, ask for directions and get belligerent… you just didn’t know. A nice touch was having an instructor walk behind you and act as your guardian angel. The instructor would give you helpful advice such as, “Keep your hands up, speak clearly, don’t walk backwards.” After one walk through we critiqued our performance and then went for another round. This time the confrontations were taken up a notch. The “stranger” would not leave you alone, get mad, start yelling or make threats. It wasn’t a fight, but you could see how this situation might end badly if mishandled. By now I wasn’t able to hear my guardian angel and was feeling pretty adrenalized. A mistake many students made was not to take an exit cue when given and remain in the situation. If the “stranger” yelled something like, “Get the fuck out of here before I kick your ass, you pussy.” It was actually the perfect opportunity to leave and de-escalate but by most people were so focused on the confrontation that they didn’t seize it. By now anyone who thought this was just play and didn’t simulate a real-life confrontation was utterly convinced. We might have all been in a training hall, but our minds and bodies couldn’t tell the difference between this and a real confrontation.

By now we were all pretty stressed, so the instructors switched gears. It was time to warm up review basic defensive combatives. After a typical Krav Maga class warm up we spend the next hour or two going over basic heel palm strikes, elbows, knees, groin kicks and head-butts. From here we moved on to groundwork. We practiced escaping the mount, use of hammer fist and defensive movements when mounted. Then we practiced escapes from having an aggressor on your back with you flat on the floor. Eventually we moved to escaping hold and from front and rear bear-hug to the side hug and a few others.

At this point after having to explain a few times that I wasn’t wearing a cup it became apparent that I was going to get hit in the junk. Jay Ackerman, the lead instructor came up to me and said, “Did you forget your cup?” I told him that it didn’t really occur to me that I was going to need one for this seminar. He asked, “Didn’t anybody tell you that you were going to get into a few street-fights today?” I told him that I got the general idea, but I don’t often wear a cup on the street. He stopped to think about it for a minute and said, “You know, you have a good point.” We did agree that purchasing a cup might be in my best interests and a few minutes later I was ready to go.

By now we were completely exhausted. We had been practicing for well over and hour, more than a standard Krav Maga class (which is no picnic, let me tell you right now) and were ready for break. Unfortunately all we got was 10 minutes while the instructors changed into the R.E.A.C.T. suits.

Now it was time to put everything we had learned so far to the test. After a brief primer during our break reminding us that these were professional fighters and warning us that any fancy martial arts kicking would just end up making us look stupid (a few people put this to the test), we were given the green light.

The first scenario was a mock concert. Six students were seated and one, two or three “aggressors” would come into the scene, act belligerent and pick a fight. Sometimes you could deescalate the situation and they would move on to someone else, sometimes you had to fight. You just didn’t know what was going to happen ahead of time. If you fought, you got rotated out of the scene and fresh students were rotated in. I managed to deescalate my first two confrontations, even giving up my seat to an “angry drunk guy” instead of fighting. The instructor walked up to me after the scenario and said that this was absolutely the right thing to do. No reason to get into a fight when you just don’t have to. Eventually though, even I had to fight. At some point two instructors picked me out for “looking at them funny” and ganged up on me. Trying to not get surrounded and keep an eye on two aggressors was an eye opening experience. Finally the guy on my right just hauled off and smacked me and I had no choice. I remember throwing a handful of heel palms to the head and just getting hit in the face for my troubles so I finally decided to grab the guy and just kicked to the groin and body repeatedly. After he dropped down to a knee I just stepped in with a right elbow to the face and knocked him clean back. I jumped on to continue with hammer fists but the whistle blew and the fight was over. I did a rapid threat scan to make sure that aggressor #2 wasn’t going to take a cheap shot and made my way out of the scene.

There was a night club scene and a Starbuck’s scene taken from real life events but everybody seemed to get the gist of the drill. After everybody had a go, we lined up again for a one-on-one scenario. I’m not sure what happened, but somehow I ended up at the head of the line. For this exercise the instructor would motion for how he wanted us to begin (back to instructor with eyes closed, on the ground with eyes closed, facing the instructor with the eyes closed) and would take us by surprise. We would be blindsided and have to fight our way clean. My scenario started with me on the floor and the instructor beating me about the back and back of the head. After rolling over and throwing and elbow I resorted to bicycle kicks and managed to get up. To make sure I didn’t lose momentum, the aggressor threw a few more smacks my way and I settled for a few elbows and groin kicks to finish the job.

A few students decided to get a little more fancy. An army guy with Tae-Kwon-do experience managed to get his aggressor to drop with an elbow and decided to deliver a final axe kick to the head, for good measure. Just like Jay warned us, the axe kick quickly ended up with him on his ass. Another student decided to perform a front leg-grab take down and took the fight to the ground. The aggressor quickly rolled him over and began pummeling the student with hammer fists forcing the student practice his escapes and roll out of the mount. If one of the students got stuck, the instructors would blow the whistle, tell them what to try to unfreeze them and finish the fight. Nobody got to quit, nobody.

Sometimes the aggressor would grab a female student and drag her by the hair, sometimes they would throw a slap, sometimes the would bear-hug or start to throw on a choke. You just never knew what was in store for you. Everything was recorded and after everyone got a chance to fight again it was time to watch the game tape.

The video was excellent. Any hesitation was immediately visible. If you did something silly, you got to see it. The fights weren’t pretty and they didn’t last long. No fight went longer than 8 or 10 seconds. They were short, up close and brutal.

The seminar ended with a big circle and everyone and a post-mortem of the events. Before we left we were reminded that the only reason to fight is in defense of your life. All in all, this was the best single training even I have ever attended. It accurately simulated a violent confrontation and gave the students practical tools on how to best avoid, or if necessary survive a violent confrontation. This is seriously the kind of training that could save your life.

..more to come.


10 Thoughts on Mexican Carry

After some time toting a compact 1911 "Mexican Carry" style, I wanted to share some my thoughts with those who have taken to reviving this old school method of pistol carry.

Why it's cool:

1) It takes high-speed low-drag to a whole new level! Talk about low-profile, this is no-profile!
2) A pistol sans holster provides a minimal print within clothing.
3) Less gear to carry = more better. Removing an IWB holster from a belt can be quite the task to achieve discretely in public.

4) It can*be a very smooth draw as there is only flesh and clothing obstructing it. When I have achieved a good grip on it, my presentation is lightening fast. When being the operative word.

5) I would be stretching the truth if I said anymore positive words about this method of concealed carry.

Why it Sucks

1) A clean, efficient, and timely presentation requires a consistent grip. This is not possible with Mexican carry as the pistol tends to move around the waistband. Even if you install an after-market clip on the pistol frame to pin it to your belt, the thing will move. This sucks.

2) When moving briskly the pistol tends to slip UP and OUT of ones belt. This can prove troublesome. When moving in a tactical manner, it's likely to fall out of your belt and given Mr Murphy's propensity for humor, it will fall land pointed at your head. This sucks.

3) A proper pistol that has a "biting" retention grip does not feel good against the skin - regardless of whether it is carried on the hip, sob, or over the appendix. it will leave marks on your flesh. This sucks.

4) There's nothing like having a pistol fall out of your pants while in a restroom, or at a cash register to upset the natives. This doesn't just suck, it's dangerous and embarrassing.

5) Excess movement and fumbling with a pistol is dangerous and discharges become all the more likely regardless of how good ones finger control is. Imagine a high-stress situation and then groping for one of those fine plastic safety-less pistols that are so fashionable nowdays.... That's just a problem just waiting to happen. This REALLY sucks.

As the saying goes, "You gotta do what you gotta do" therefore Mexican carry should only be a consideration when:

1) Wearing a holster is not an option. Ex. Your favorite leather-maker can't seem to send you a holster in a reasonable amount of time (less than 9 months).

2) Your threat model requires discrete disposal of your weapon and you want one less thing to dispose of.

3) You have absolutely no other option in a SHTF situation

Here are some tasteful options: bags, vests, organizers etc!

Coronado Leather: Jackets, Vests, purses, backpacks, organizers etc
Concealed Carry Outfitters (admin note: John Hayes is a great guy and stands behind his products.)
Has a plethora of carry options to mount in bags, versipacks and the list goes on...


Brilliant insights from a famous gunfighter...

"PC is a mental disease that ensues from hanging around too many low testosterone metro sexual liberals"

"Because some dope-smoking liberal anti-American chose to turn that word into something bad is no reason to discard it"

Sigh. I just don't get somethings...

I mean, I'm all for mass quantities of steak, potatoes, coffee, whiskey and scars, but at the same
time I really like silk sheets, espresso, fresh baked bread, and eating tofu.

So, what exactly does "low testosterone" or "metro sexual" connote to that authors mind?
I dunno... What if I was a gay, californian foodie that really liked guns? Would that exclude me from the tactical mindset? Would that make them less capable of killing someone and dealing with the aftermath?

My point isn't to call the author of those brilliant fucking insights into a debate about the emasculation of the American male or some crap like that, but rather to illustrate a point that those sentiments don't really matter. Being gay, metrosexual, a doper, a red-blooded american, or a commie doesn't make anyone more or less capable of killing people or exercising their right to bear arms.

Lenin stomped the crap out of a lot of folks.
Himmler was into freaky stuff like cross dressing and he killed a lot of folks.
The Greeks and Romans conquered most of the world and engaged in homosexual activity.

Being a liberal, from a political point of view, may render you incapable of performing the indicated response. But, hell, drinking too much of either parties kool-aid may very well render you incapable of performing the indicated response too.

Let's get to the crux of the issue: Anyone who is out to take your guns and pass more laws restricting your 2nd A rights is the enemy. It doesn't matter if they are gay or straight, democrap or rebulicrat, metrosexual and PC or Merle Duffy-esque.