Andy, It was great to meet you. Sorry we did not connect on Sunday.... I'l be emailing soon in regard to projects discussed!
Meanwhile, here are my AAR thoughts form the sessions I attended/Observed: (same text with pics here:TBD Blog
Day 1 is about halfway through and I attended two great training sessions this morning.
Southnarc presented his "MUC" (Managing Unknown Contacts) Material in the first session. I had taken this session only a few months ago as part of an IEK Course out in Colorado. Taking it again so soon just drives home how important it is to work the fundamentals AND re-visit training in the fundamental areas as often as possible. Southnarc's relatively laid back style of presenting very solid and efficient information is very engaging. He spent time giving the students what he believes them to NEED, as opposed to what some people might "want". The fact is that with his experience, operationally and as an instructor, he has a solid handle on what information is most important in a compressed time frame and was able to cover a lot of ground in 2hrs. Topics included likely attack situations, the importance of establishing and/or maintaining as much distance as possible. "circle stepping" to the side so that you can maintain eye contact with a primary unknown contact while still opening what was behind you to your peripheral vision and the 4 most common Pre-Assault Cues.
Southnarc is one of the top instructors working today. His "within two arms reach" material is as solid as it gets. Any time spent training/talking with him is time well spent.
After that, Michael de Bethencourt presented, in his not-so-laid back way, on the topic of "snubbies."
Michael explained the rationalization for specializing in the ubiquitous short barreled, small framed revolver and made a great case for the compact revolver as a great self-defense firearm choice. Being someone who carries a j-frame more than anything else over the past few years, he didn't have to do much convincing to me. That said, his articulations and key points were very good ones, some of which I had not considered. Michael went on to cover the key factors in choosing a revolver, ammunition and holsters for defensive work. He also had time to squeeze in some thoughts on tactics and run several students through a number of role-playing scenarios to emphasize points. Although I have met Michael in the past and we've talked briefly, I never had the pleasure of being a student in any of his training. I was really looking forward to the session and I left very impressed. I look forward to finding time for a full class.
I was able to sit on on portions of two more sessions today:
Chris Fry covered Carbine Combatives in a very dynamic and hands on session for students and I was able to observe about half of it. Chris is an articulate and passionate instructor and his topic: dealing with close quarters unarmed attacks while holding a carbine is rarely trained effectively in an "in context" way. Chris' approach, techniques and explanations were impressive and his methodology was great. After explaining and demonstrating a recommended technique, Chris turned the students to loose to work (with outstanding padded training guns (THANKS George!)) to work the problems themselves and feel the motions with a partner. If someone grabs your long gun in a critical incident, having gone through a block like this would have put out way ahead of the curve on figuring out what to do. Of course, training how to protect the rifle or use it as a weapon ALSO trains you to deal with a badguy who has a long gun when you are in close quarters. The session ended with stripping techniques to be used if you find yourself with a handful of badguy carbine!
Tom Sotis (AMOK!) is a highly respected trainer who also brings a high intensity passion to his students. Tom is an energetic instructor who is well known for practical and efficient knife training. I was only able to observe about 30 minutes of his session today, but a good friend of mine participated in the entire event. What I saw and heard was GREAT fundamental training for defending yourself against a knife attack. It was nice to get to meet Tom and watch him teach after having heard so many good things about his training. The session at the summit was a very condensed version of what he has to offer, but it was clearly appreciated by the attendees.... many of whom were working up a sweat practicing the recommended techniques!