Monday, July 11, 2011

Shots Fired

Here's my review of the Sure Shots shooting seminar hosted by The Blackstone Group (BSG Services) and Dillo Dynamics: It was awesome!

We trained all day, from 9 to 6, and still only barely scratched the paint job on the surface of what there is to know about firearms. I have begun to think you could study for years and still find there was more to discover.

What put me at ease anyway is that I've had weekly shooting sessions with my friend Heath for the last 2 months - I buy his ammo & pay the lane fees, he points my gun in the right direction for me. I'm supposed to be practicing to not look like a goober when we do weapons at my next Phase training, but it paid off in spades yesterday. I was quite nervous shooting the first 5 rounds, but after that it began to feel familiar and was just fun in the (105 degree) sun.

Making it even better was the volunteers Blackstone brought out. Each group of 2 shooters had their own coach, who stayed with them throughout the day. We had 15 shooters, so that's a lot of people volunteering to stand out in the heat. My coach was a man I already know (I teach his son & he helped me out tremendously once when I was injured in class). I confess I was hoping he'd coach me for a bit, but fortunately I ended up with him the whole day, which means I hit the jackpot.

And what a day it was! I ended up using one of their Glock 19's (which I now know won't be the type of gun I purchase, as I had trouble with the magazine release all day) & we shot standing still, moving, behind concealment (we learned the difference between concealment and cover), and shooting while holding the gun in various positions. We also shot one-handed, which was easier than I expected - which brings me to another point. Every lady but me (if you read the last blog post you know this was an all-female shoot), found it painful to shoot holding the weapon close to the body. It was too hard on the wrists.

However, I have an old wrist injury that has forced me to do push ups on my knuckles (instead of supporting my weight on my palms) for well over a year now. I found shooting without the support of my extended arms to be painless & pretty easy, so there you have it. Start doing your push ups on your knuckles!

I also shot a John Browning 1911, a timeless work of art that is smooth as silk but surprisingly heavy.

I shot an M-freaking-4. That's what's in the photo.

And the queen: The H&K UMP .45. This is the gun I taunted and caressed after I shot it. My coach actually had to remind me "it's just a tool" because I kept whispering to it. Seriously, I could feel my testosterone levels skyrocket after I shot it, and I was jabbering away about it non-stop at breakfast this morning.

And I want to do it again. Oh, yes I do.

I was talking with a friend this afternoon about getting a group together to go out and do another seminar, so if you're interested, contact me via the blog comments or on Facebook.

And another thing. I want to thank the folks who worked the seminar for their time, expertise, patience, and attitude. These men all looked like they just stepped off the cover of Military Hero magazine, and they were just the nicest and most generous people ever. Females engaging in a stereotypically male pursuit often face eye-rolling men who just put up with their presence to be polite, but do not take the females seriously. This was NOT the case at this seminar. Regardless of the student's level of experience she was treated as a serious student, capable of achieving any goal she was willing to earn.

There was also a woman volunteer, my friend Teresa J. of the Austin Police Department. Teresa consistently sets the standard for professionalism while still being completely approachable and generally awesome. My great thanks to her and her most excellent husband Jason for inviting me to the seminar.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bang! Bang!

Well, I thought I was doing that other thing, but now I'm doing this! There's a women-only shooting seminar this Sunday out in Liberty Hill and the cost is only $50 + ammo. Shooting guns is the most fun I've ever had wearing earmuffs. You should come out, too, ladies!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Who Knows?

I have no idea who this guy is, but...

There's a seminar in Austin at Castle Hill Fitness this Friday, July 8 on recovering from trauma. He is a Somatic Experiencing practitioner, similar to Jules Shore. You can read my interview with Jules here, to learn more about the effects of trauma on the body & mind.

The seminar is from 6:30-7:30, and it's FREE. To get more information, click on the event's Facebook page.

I have no idea what to expect but I'll probably check it out, as this sort of thing holds enless fascination for me. If you're there, too, come shake my paw!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ladies of Legend

Today's Ladies-only class was awesome. I totally dropped the ball and forgot to advertise the upcoming class, plus it was a holiday weekend, and I still had a group of ladies in cute clothes ready to whoop some butt.

After some warmup drills we worked on the concept of bursting in toward a pull. I didn't teach arm drags or hair pulls, just bursting in, period. Then we played monkey-in-the-middle, where the defender is dragged around by her hair, clothes, arms, whatever we could grab while still holding a pad for her to attack. She also had to put up with being body-slammed with the pads, then turning to attack that pad.

From there we went on to practice a scenario that a fellow student described to me of what happened when she was attacked by her ex. He (once again) assaulted her and attempted to murder her - but she fought him off! We all defended exactly that attack, using that defense, against each person in the class. So, student who told me your story (I'll tell you who you are privately), you just helped a lot of people survive that type of attack thanks to your courage under attack and your willingness to share!

Next we worked the concept of running away vs. running to. The difference is largely mental (like so much else we do) and you can actually see the switch in the student when she makes the change. Very exciting to watch that happen, we'll do the drill again in the morning level 1/2 classes next week so the guys get a crack at it, too.

The last thing we did was create a plan of what we will do in case of attack. Now obviously, you can't plan for every scenario - and it's usually the last thing one expects that actually happens. But by creating a basic plan and talking it out with someone, and even practicing it, your chances of success (meaning survival) increase tremendously.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when creating your first plan:

Who do you spend the most time with? It may be your co-workers. Create the plan based on a scenario in which you are with that person or persons. Are you at the location of your job? Are you out to lunch together? We are not trying to make a prediction here, just practicing thinking of these things objectively and logically.

If you are in the office, where is the most logical place for a person to attack you? Would they just be entering from the lobby? At your desk? In the parking lot?

This person you are frequently they know how to fight? Will they be able to talk to the person or distract him (or her) while you get help or initiate defenses? Can they call the cops for you?

What is the fastest exit you both can get to? What if they chase you through the exit? What is the fastest safe place you can reach?

Bring these questions up to the person you have in mind. They may roll their eyes at you, accuse you of being a scaredy-cat, etc. Tell them your teacher told you to have this conversation and keep at them.

A plan does not consist of, "yeah, I'll probably fight and scream, you should just take off".

A plan looks more like "I'll distract him while you run. You always have your phone on you, so dial 911-SEND. You will keep running. Do not look back to see if I'm okay, do not come back for any reason. I will fight the second he is distracted and you start running. If I survive I will go straight to the Starbucks next door. Tell the 911 dispatcher the ambulance may find me there instead of in the office. If I can't escape the office I'll barricade myself in Bob's office. His desk is near the door, I can use it the block the door." (Question: Can you move Bob's desk? You'd better find out.)

Having a plan is empowering and can keep you alive. Having a pre-set place to run TO makes you run faster (seriously), and makes it possible for help to reach you sooner.

Lastly, sometimes the people we spend time with (even those who love us) don't really take our efforts in Krav Maga seriously. They might believe we are too small, too nice, too whatever. Maybe they think violence doesn't really happen to nice people. We are cautioned to "just give him your purse" (as if that would stop a rapist) or we are otherwise counseled that we will get hurt if we fight.

Of course, we will get hurt if we fight. We might even die.

We will also get hurt and maybe even die if we do NOT fight - if the attacker wants to hurt us. He may even take pleasure in that.

In certain situations, compliance with an attacker might ensure your survival. In others it might get you killed. You must listen to your gut during the violent encounter itself.

But know this: even a little bee can sting. Even a small person can defend himself or herself against an attacker. You are worth defending, and you can do it.

Need an example? Check out this awesome entry on Badass of the Week. (Warning: profanity!)

Next time someone tells you that you are too small to defend yourself, remember Badass of the Week's little Rukhsana Kauser and the terrorist who beat her family so he could rape her. If she could defend herself and her family, you can do it. See you next month, ladies!