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Thread: AAR: Southnarc ECQC - Pittsburgh, 4/29/11 - 5/1/11

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    AAR: Southnarc ECQC - Pittsburgh, 4/29/11 - 5/1/11



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    Course: Extreme Close Quarter Concepts
    Instructor: Southnarc
    Location: Beaver Valley Rifle & Pistol Club
    Date:April 29 – May 1, 2011
    Cost: $450

    I don't post much and never did a course review before, but this class is so important I felt it was necessary. Pictures are problematic since some identities need to be protected. Someone took lots of pictures and will obscure faces.

    Training Day One:The course began at 6:00 PM with introductions and a bit of everyone's personal background. The class was about half law enforcement, which Southnarc said was above average. Two students were repeat attenders.
    Southnarc believes in an honest assessment of yourself and avoiding focusing your training on what you are good at. The next two days would reveal and address plenty of weaknesses, both natural and trained.
    The criminal paradigm and managing unknown contacts was covered. Distance equals time. The distance would be close and the time would be short the rest of the weekend. Keeping alert, maintaining distance and keeping your hands high and compressed in a defensive posture were stressed and then illustrated with drills. We then we moved outside for some additional drills. We were sort of chased out by a lady training boy scouts.
    When we moved towards scenarios (unarmed) the importance of being able to maintain a dialogue while focusing on positioning and awareness became apparent. Southnarc used the illustration of having your commands on your mental ipod so you can just press play and focus on staying Upright and Conscious, his two primary objectives. Having to talk slows down your ability to do other functions. A drill to prove this is to be engaged in meaningful conversation while being timed on a shooting drill. We focused on moving in arcs, into your peripheral vision, to maintain distance. Southnarc was a wealth of real world knowledge and it showed. His understanding of pre-fight indicators and his ability to demonstrate them is uncanny. He could be an actor, and was in a way I guess.
    When we moved to physicality those with a wrestling/jujitsu background caught on quickly. Initiating is important. This was apparent in the evolutions that we did the next two days. If you can't initiate or didn't initiate then you need a Non-diagnostic Default Reaction, meaning you need one reaction that will work for a wide variety of attacks. Southnarc teaches a weak side vertical elbow shield and a strong side horizontal elbow shield, combined to protect your head and allow you to strike, clinch or disengage. Again, the goal is to stay conscious and upright, not go to the ground.
    We ran the mountain goat drill which is two opponents pushing against each others foreheads. This illustrated the importance of posture, keeping your hips square and also allowed us to see the difference in body types. This drill also resulted in many of us having silver dollar sized skinned spots on our foreheads. I will bring a lightweight skull cap next time. This would also be useful for wearing in the FIST helmets.
    We then added the underhook/armtie gang to the drills. This would be used throughout the weekend. Southnarc stressed relying on the congruence of techniques across situations. Many BJJ skills transfer, but in a weapons based environment some things are better then others. He says it is about a 15% tweak.

    Training Day Two:We began on the range with a basic assessment of proficiency. In all the class was pretty good. Although this was not a marksmanship class, it was addressed and several people stated their need to improve when they saw the proficiency of others in the class.
    Southnarc teaches a four stage draw that is adjusted for the potential of a close quarters encounter. I asked how much time he thought the adjustment added to the draw. I guessed 0.2 secs and he said that sounded about right.
    Stage 1: Clear garment posting support hand flat and high on center or chest with strong hand grasping grip high with thumb flagged against body.
    Stage 2: Draw high with base and tip of thumb tracking your body as the gun rises. Without turning torso and the thumb still flagged and the gun at about a 45 degree downward angle this is the retention hold. The strong side trap muscle should have noticeable tension when this is done correctly. The details are important so that you can shoot from this position without hitting yourself while engaged with an assailant. Hits will be consistently low and right on target in the pelvic area. This is the arms length shooting position.
    Stage 3: The hands mate and the gun enters your peripheral vision with the upper body still compressed. Shots are now impacting close to center mass. You can shoot pretty accurately back to 7-10 yards (although that is not was he expects to be done). If shooting one handed and moving to two handed shooting we moved to stage 3 to mate hands.
    Stage 4: Pressout to full extension. The ingrained habit of doing this for years resulted in many gun grabs in scenarios. Full extension is asking for problems at close quarters. This seems obvious but it is so engrained that you will naturally do it if you don't train not to. We saw this in the evolutions.

    The second half of the day moved back to physical drills. We would always start consensual, and then increase the pressure to about 30%. When sims guns were used we ran the drill cold first. We learned how to disengage using a duckunder and also a wrist drag.

    Training Day Three:We spent the first half of the day working forwards and backwards shooting throughout the horizontal line of presentation. We also shot with the support side in a vertical and horizontal elbow shields. This is where having a rock solid number two position is critical.
    We shot a drill from and around the car. Here again congruence of techniques was apparent. Hip escapes translate well into just about everything we did in the vehicle.
    We also shot a drill from a picnic table with three people crowded around the sides and back of the shooter. This emphasized the importance of separate vertical and horizontal parts of the drawstroke while the thumb tracks the body both on the draw and reholster.
    The second half of the day involved three evolutions.
    We did a two on one evolution with only one gun. Distance was critical. This was a gasser. Fighting two people changes things. Also the duty rigs with retention showed their value here.
    Next was a one on one with two guns in a vehicle. Getting your hips turned and taking up space was the key. This was an eyeopening exercise. There is a lot of room in even a small car if you move right.
    The final evolution was a grounded gun on gun. This brought in the disarms. We had to squeeze this one in as we were in overtime.
    All three showed in Southnarcs words that “the operative word in gunfight is fight.” If you lost your gun he wanted you to get it back. If both guns were dead you needed to improve your position. If you were in a dominant position you needed to shoot or disengage.

    All in all this class is beyond great. This class is a must take. It definitely is a missing piece in the training pie for anyone who hasn't taken it. Although we didn't spend much time on blades, their usefulness was apparent, both in disarms and in fight.
    The only drawbacks/criticisms was that the club was not optimal for the course. There was near constant close gunfire that made hearing the instruction portion of the course difficult at times. The grassy area was nice for the grounded portion of the class.
    Southnarc's real world experience is apparent without going on and on through “war stories” and he can tie theory to reality with ease. The drills were safe while still allowing basically full force in the grappling and a enough striking to distract or make the person aware of the danger. There was even some biting thrown in, although Southnarc put a quick stop to that.
    This class will also motivate you to get in better shape. To me this gets far too little attention relative to the next new piece of cool gear to buy.
    The bottom line is that this class will do more for you than can be explained in this review. I will take it again.

  2. #2
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    Another amazing ECQC class completed at the outstanding Beaver Valley Rifle & Pistol Club.

    The start of the photos;





























    Paul A. Hotaling
    Alias Training & Security Services, LLC
    Paul@aliastraining.com
    757-215-1959 (Mon-Fri 8AM-5PM)
    757-985-9586 (After Hours)
    www.aliastraining.com


  3. #3
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    I would like to add some comments as an observer (corny, eh?). First off, this was a class that I needed to take but didn't. I had every reason worked out in my head on why TO take it, and a dozen more on why I shouldn't take it. Unfortunately the wrong side won. In discussion towards the end of the class, Southnarc made the comment that people have asked for an ECQC Lite, or a prep class for it. He listed all of the same reasons people want it as I had running through my brain. It is not that I was afraid to take it, but perhaps nervous or just stupid. Either way, it was obvious after a few different drills had happened that I made a mistake. The effort taken to ensure not only a safe environment, but one that creates healthy learning for all skill levels is unmatched. It was also cool to see that no one was trying to earn the gold trophy for the most switched on mo'fo' in the class. When the smallest dude went against the biggest dude, both came out with good and bad points to take with them and work on.

    If you think that is too long winded, take it from someone who is lamenting a bad decision to not take the class, just do it. Talking about it is easy, taking it is only harder if you make it that way.

    I am thankful to have been asked to be there, and very thankful that I was able to not only meet Southnarc but pick his brain and ask questions as if I were a student. I had a good deal of validation along with a few things that probably need changed that I did not know until now.

  4. #4
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    More photos from the class.

    Special thanks to orionz06 for his outstanding photos. Plus Jay Cunningham and the Beaver Valley Rifle & Pistol Club for being an outstanding host.




























    Paul A. Hotaling
    Alias Training & Security Services, LLC
    Paul@aliastraining.com
    757-215-1959 (Mon-Fri 8AM-5PM)
    757-985-9586 (After Hours)
    www.aliastraining.com


  5. #5
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    My apologies in advance for the length of this.

    I attended this class with two co-workers. We are all LEOs from the same department with me being a part-time officer (reserve) and my co-workers being full-time officers. During the past few years I had taken it upon myself to be much more proactive about seeking out training that I thought would help reveal and address weaknesses in my skillset and provide insight that might be passed on to fellow officers. In the past this has included mostly firearms-based courses. Those classes, when combined with lots of focused practice, were extremely effective in increasing my firearms proficiency. However, I had been aware of the ECQC class for at least a couple years, and had read about it with great interest as I knew it was covering holes that existed in my current skillset. I purchased SouthNarc's DVDs to get a better idea of the basic teachings, but I knew I had to take this class to get a more comprehensive exposure to his material and, of course, experience the simulations.

    I am not what I would consider as much of a fire-breathing, testosterone-driven machine as some guys. I won't shy away from confrontation if it is necessary, but I don't necessarily relish the idea of going into a conflict to see how I measure up. Consequently, I was intimidated by this class, but knew I'd regret not attending especially seeing that it was only a couple hours drive from me. I also knew I needed to get more comfortable mixing it up in the force-on-force simulations. I am a believer in the value of stress-inoculation as a concept and reality. We typically do not get enough of that in LE. Lastly, I had two guys who agreed to attend the class with me who were very capable and, for all intents and purposes, fearless.

    I won't go into the details of the class as there is enough existing info out there. Suffice it to say, it is hard to overstate the value of this class. The first four hours, Managing Unknown Contacts, was invaluable from an LE perspective and I am certain it was for CCW folks as well. I took copious notes the first night. SouthNarc was sure to relate LE-specific info when appropriate. We appreciated that as we were "LE-heavy" as he put it. SouthNarc gave us some great ideas to help us manage our field contacts more safely. Most of it is incredibly simple and painfully obvious once you see it, but very effective. He proved it.

    Criticisms? Nothing glaring. If I had to nit-pick, I'd say I felt like I was drinking from a firehose at times. Especially Saturday afternoon, when we were trying to learn some simple techniques to negotiate an extremely close quarters encounter by either getting the hell out of there or sealing the deal, so to speak. In retrospect, I can see the toolkit SouthNarc was presenting to us was a stripped down, what you need to save-your-ass, set of techniques. I understand it better from this side than I did during it. A large part of this challenge might be attributed to me possessing a less than average amount of athletic ability. Not that extreme athletic ability was required in any way, but it may have took me longer for me to digest and assimilate the techniques. My work will continue towards that end. I am fortunate my two fellow attendees are more athletically inclined with one being a MMA-guy with tons of real-life grappling/BBJ experience. I'll be relying on them to help me ingrain these techniques to a much greater degree.

    The sims/evolutions. Yep, they can be very, very intense - no question. They are also very, very valuable. Absolutely essential in fact. They bring everything together, and, based partially on your decision-making, can bring literally bring everything down upon you in a split-second. They definitely took me out of my comfort zone. During the 2-on-1 sim I was taken down ( I ran it as an LEO with duty rig). I ultimately ended up pinned on my back with two guys pummeling me and stripping my gun. I was blacked out as far as visuals and had very little room to breath at the end (compressed chest and helmet). It was downright panic-inducing, but I was able to focus and fight. You simply have to do the best you can for as long as you can regardless of whether you've been "shot" or immobilized. SouthNarc provides three key elements of assistance during the sims. One, he monitors very closely for unsafe conditions or potentially severe injury-inducing actions. Two, he provides extremely good coaching to help you get on track with doing what is the most beneficial to ensuring your survival (escaping or gaining control if possible). Three, he will not accept you conceding defeat. Simple as that. No doubt, the sims could get rough, but I felt relatively safe the entire time.

    In my opinion, you want to be physically fit to get the most out of this class. I maintain a relatively high level of fitness with plenty of weight training and serious conditioning. I had no worries about fitness level going into the course. Let me qualify that though. I am definitely not a stud by any definition, but I simply try to maximize my potential, which is admittedly not profound as far as athleticism is concerned. The two guys I attended the course with are real specimens (it does not rub off on me unfortunately). You have to keep in in mind that there are many variables at play in the sims and real life. Strength, conditioning, mobility, flexibility, technical ability and athleticism, decision-making ability under stress and pure capacity for violence/aggression are some of them. I knew my hands-on skills were lacking, and that there were plenty of people stronger than me. It's good to be aware of your limitations - it can help drive your decison-making. Some people were obviously gassing during simple non-consensual drills the first night. Not a good thing if your interested in your own survival during a fight for your life. To paraphrase SouthNarc, "the operative word in 'gunfight' is 'fight' and a fight by definition is an athletic event." Enough harping on that.

    A lot of "lightbulb" moments in this class for me. As a result of this class, I am re-thinking several key approaches to the ways I was handling some things, or seeing things handled. A few simple examples:

    - relegating position "SUL" to the toolbox for use as a conscious choice, not a reflexive action. Use it only when appropriate and be aware there are other alternatives. Don't be an automaton. A large part of being conscious, is being aware and being aware includes being aware of what you are doing and why.

    - task fixation and task switching - the detrimental effect they can have on our performance when encountering possible life-threatening situations

    - edged weapons in an LE context - too many knives (folders and fixed) and such being carried with the idea they will be used as a defensive weapon in spite of the lack of real and meaningful training with them and the complete lack of regard for the fact it is another weapon you bring to the fight for both you and the bad guy. The more accessible it is to you, the more accessible it is to the bad guy. Once you run some sims, you realize it is hard enough to keep track of one weapon that may enter the fight, let alone a knife. Not saying edged weapons do not have a place in an LE-context, simply that the vast majority of officers (me included) have an unrealistic, over-simplistic (almost fantastical) notion that the simple presence of knife (carried in all sorts of ridiculously unsecured manners) buys them more security. Do the work and find out.

    - Having a firearm and being very proficient with it (not just talking about shooting pretty groups on a bulls-eye target) does not qualify you as being able to properly defend yourself with that weapon if you are encroached upon and victimized. Do the work and find out.

    - the Safariland SLS/ALS combo makes for a damn fine duty holster. Not impossible to compromise, but damn difficult for the uninitiated and yet easy weapon access for the user. Our guys were grateful for the opportunity to run most of the sims with our duty rigs. Our gear was stress-tested like it had never been tested before. I broke a handcuff pouch during a sim. Who cares? Small price to pay for the learning experience.


    I'd be remiss if I didn't close with the heart of what makes the ECQC course so valuable, the instructor. We've all been students at one level or another. I've been a student and taught at the college level. I'd like to think I have an innate sense and appreciation for exemplary instruction. I don't want to sound like I am blowing sunshine up your skirt, but I don't know that I've ever experienced a more knowledgeable, genuine, and capable instructor than SouthNarc. He "owns" the material, which is very important. He can explain the genesis of the principles and the techniques that relate to those principles. You can question him. He will explain himself and better yet, give you the opportunity to learn from experience (sometimes painful) as to why what he is teaching is truth. It may "a truth" instead of "the truth" in some cases, but it is valid nonetheless. When all is done, you don't go away believing. You go away knowing. Big difference. He's smart, analytical and discerning (you can just tell), and has "done the work" by culling the most pertinent and valuable material from various facets of his experiences and a wide variety of disciplines and approaches. He puts it in a package that inter-relates and brings it all together. You never get the sense he is simply regurgitating the info for you. He is friendly, humorous and approachable, but he teaches with a sense of urgency that makes you feel like he has a vested interest in your well-being. Can't ask for more than that.


    When I started viewing and researching the ECQC material, I felt SouthNarc was the real deal as the little bit of material I had seen "rang true" with me. I could tell he had a goldmine he was sharing. My experience in ECQC showed that to be true. A big thanks to SouthNarc for sharing his knowledge, skills, and experience with us and for the patience in instructing the material to our class. Thanks to all who came out and immersed themselves in what I consider an unsurpassed training experience. Many thanks also to the military folks of present and past who attended the class and to whom we owe our gratitude.

    As for my crew, we already have our FIST helmets on order and are getting fired up about bringing the "truths" of what we have learned back to our department with hopes at least some of those folks will be willing to listen, learn and "do the work."
    Last edited by zenghost; 05-06-11 at 09:28.

  6. #6
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    I recently took this class in Indiana...

    There is no reason or excuse however valid sounding etc. that anyone who carries a gun professionally or socially should not take this class. The only thing preventing most is an ego and as we all know it never gets you far...

    If you want an honest assessment of yourself and your gear, you owe it to you and the ones you come home to pursue that feedback and this was the perfect venue for it. I may sound a bit overstated or dramatic but this class is something you must experience to understand it.

    Thanks to Southnarc for the opportunity and honesty behind his material and the real world experience to draw from, it is most sincerely appreciated.

    Jeff

    PS: As soon as I saw those old FIST helmets I knew I was in trouble. Those who have been in the class know what I mean. If only those things could talk...
    Last edited by ShootinRN; 05-05-11 at 22:05. Reason: Add

  7. #7
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    The last of the public photos from the class.































    Paul A. Hotaling
    Alias Training & Security Services, LLC
    Paul@aliastraining.com
    757-215-1959 (Mon-Fri 8AM-5PM)
    757-985-9586 (After Hours)
    www.aliastraining.com


  8. #8
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    The next opportunity to take SouthNarc's world-class ECQC is May 20-22, 2011 in College Station, TX.

    Extreme Close Quarter Concepts - May 20-22, 2011 - College Station, Texas

    Class Thread:
    http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=64956

    Sign Up Page:
    http://stores.greygrouptraining.com/...ter/Detail.bok
    Paul A. Hotaling
    Alias Training & Security Services, LLC
    Paul@aliastraining.com
    757-215-1959 (Mon-Fri 8AM-5PM)
    757-985-9586 (After Hours)
    www.aliastraining.com


  9. #9
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    Ouch- a Sim round that close got to hurt bad...
    my enmity is only against Tyranny, where ever I find it, wheter in Emperour, King, Prince, Parliament, Presbyters, or People.
    Richard Overton, 1646

  10. #10
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    looks like a great class guys.

    def on my "must take" list

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