I had the great opportunity to attend a “Combat Focus Shooting” course taught by Jeff Varner of Team Snakehound. Combat Focus Shooting is a system developed by Rob Pincus. You can read about his biography and qualifications here- http://www.icetraining.us/robpincus.html Jeff has been certified as a CFS instructor since 2009. As one of Rob’s top students, he has relocated to NH to help share his knowledge in a very comprehensive shooting system and to develop a core training program with his friend Owen Martin of http://snakehoundmachine.com/.
We started the day with some very basic fundamentals of safety, stance and grip. Jeff also talked about the basic principles of CFS, one of which is the body’s response to a “dynamic critical incident”. Basically a situation where you are presented with a threat that causes your body to react in a certain way. CFS recognizes these body dynamics, and applies them to the fundamentals of shooting to defend yourself, or rather, to go on the OFFENSIVE to protect yourself or someone else. We all learned very quickly it is one thing to stand at a line and shoot at an inanimate target repeatedly, but it is a completely different ballgame when you add movement and stress. Sure… a lot of people can make tight groups at 21 ft with their 1911, but all that goes out the window when you start thinking about moving and then shooting, or reloading as you are moving.
I am not going to explain the different drills we did. You will need to take the course and see for yourself, but I will talk about what I came away with. As I did each drill, I found myself getting the best hits when I slowed down and payed attention to my grip, my stance and looked at my target instead of using sights…at the distance we were shooting you did not really need them. Most “Dynamic Critical Incidents” or violent confrontations happen within 9-12 feet. It’s a fact. Supported by police reports, security cams, and firsthand accounts. So you should train to be effective at that distance. Then you can move on to being a super dynamic ninja….I definitely had a lot of frustrating moments. Like- “why the hell can I not hit this little circle when I am only 10 ft away?!!” But then I returned to those basic fundamentals and slowed it down, and made my hits. Usually to find myself in the “what the hell?” position shortly thereafter. SLOW DOWN. REPEAT. SPEED UP. SLOW DOWN. REPEAT. That was the mantra for the day. It was challenging, frustrating, but ultimately REWARDING. I felt that I came away with some great knowledge I could use in my own practice to help better myself. I also want to take many more courses to improve and plan to do so.
One of the phrases that is printed on the CFS targets we used is ” The Balance of Speed and Precision”. That summed up the day. Trying to find that balance. If you went too fast, slow down and be precise. If you were getting too tight of groups and weren’t challenging yourself, speed up and then try to get that same accuracy. It was a constant struggle to meet in the middle, and I loved every minute of it! It felt like the first couple years I began tattooing and I was always yelling at myself because I knew what I wanted to do, but needed to do the work and improve my technique to get there. That is what I came away with. No super secret ninja moves, just solid core principles based on science.
If you would like to train with Jeff, keep an eye on http://snakehoundmachine.com/ and check their training section for courses. No matter what level shooter you are, I guarantee you are going to come away with something that is beneficial.
My EDC knife is the Cold Steel Recon Tanto 1. I have had it for about 2 years now. I don’t use it for any Ninja Combat or anything like that but I am confident if I needed it for that purpose it would perform quite well. Here is a testimonial from a soldier who used it in Iraq- http://www.coldsteel.com/Customer-Testimonial-03.aspx
I on the other hand have used it for cutting rope/cord, lashing things to my car, breaking down boxes, whittling sticks, and any other every day use I can get out of it. I am very happy with the durability of the knife. With other knives I have gone through many pocket clips with the clip breaking, screws loosening, and ultimately not being able to use the clip anymore. This is not the case with my Cold Steel Recon 1. I haven’t had to tighten the screws yet. I also appreciate the fact it comes with another set to be used if you want to change the side your clip is on, or even to have a spare in case you lose a screw. The textured handle provides a nice grip and feels comfortable and balanced with the contoured grooves conforming nicely to your hand. The finish on the blade is worn a little but not anything extraordinary after a couple years of every day carry.
There are many high-end knife makers like Emerson, Strider and Alpha Hunter Tactical that provide REALLY nice knives. If I was in a position where my life depended on my knife every day, I would probably invest in one. (trust me they are still on my wish list!) I feel that the Cold Steel brand is a nice mid-range and rugged knife for people who arent looking to spend $300-500 dollars on a knife. They do cost around $100 but if you look hard enough you can find them on sale in the $60 range. I will keep mine and continue to buy Cold Steel. Here is the link to their site- http://www.coldsteel.com/Product/RECON.20_1.20_SERIES/RECON_1_SERIES.aspx
I am looking forward to a “Combat Focus Shooting” Course I will be taking along with the rest of the crew at Iron Works. Jeff Varner of TeamSnakehound, will be teaching the course. Owen of Snakehound Machine has chosen Jeff to teach his CFS course. Jeff has 9 years of experience in CFS. Although NH is a bastion of gun owners and enthusiasts it has been severely lacking in proper self defense training. Only places like the $ig Academy offer instruction and not many independent programs exist locally. This is an exciting new opportunity for people who want quality instruction at reasonable prices.
You can sign up for courses here- http://store.snakehoundmachine.com/teamsnakehound/
I will post a rundown of the day after we attend the course. Stay tuned.
Ziv Edelstein/ News 0404
I’ll try not to weigh down my blog with too much political crap. Because I do hate politics and think it’s a big game on all sides. BUT I have been and always will be VERY anti-FASCIST. I have many friends of Jewish heritage and will not stand for hatred against them in any form. I myself am only half-white, the other being Chinese and have experienced my own forms of racism over the years. I came across this article recently and found it very disturbing. In the second time in 5 months Arab residents in Beit Umar have flown a Nazi flag over a major thoroughway near Jerusalem. There are many arguments on both side of the Isreali/Palestinian conflict. I do not wish to get into those but rather highlight a trend that I have seen, with parallels in our own culture and emphasize the dangerous path these groups choose and what they truly represent. If Islam is a religion of peace Nazi ideology should be an abhorrent idea and find no place in the Palestinian argument. According to the article there was an Arab leader friendly with the Nazi regime who encouraged the Holocaust. This was all news to me, and very interesting. But it does make sense. In such a way that ” the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” You can read the article here- http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/172988#.UmWDjySvWIH
SO this brings me to my next point and the trend of kids adopting nazi symbolism and white pride imagery and saying because they are white it’s “ok”. Don’t get me wrong, I find nothing wrong with being proud of your culture. I have Scandinavian roots with relatives that go back to Finland. I love Vikings, Rune writing and Scandinavian mythology. But, when you start using SS bolts, swastikas, and other images that identify with a Fascist movement that’s where i draw the line. I have seen it in punk rock, black metal, hardcore, and even tattoo culture. I can say with no hesitation that I don’t support it, think it’s cool, nor feel it’s just an expression of cultural pride. It’s hate and kids should be careful what things they start dabbling with because that shit is real, and it stands for something. The question is- What do you stand for? Whether you are a Palestinian who feels so strongly about the eradication of Israel, or you flaunt imagery associated with Fascism because you think it looks cool, or you’re just showing pride for your culture, be aware of what you are really saying- I stand with the ideas behind these images, and support them.
I will end with this from one of the bands I grew up listening to- Napalm Death, covering the Dead Kennedys