Pipes, Pistols, Blades & Boots - August 21 - 23, 2015 - Plains, Montana…
I can’t say enough positive things about this class. It was an amazing experience, intellectually, physically and spiritually challenging and enriching. Kudos to Marc Denny and Eric Pfleger, instructors par excellence, and all-around GREAT people. It was truly an honor to receive the benefits of these guys’ vast experience and highly-advanced skills in close-quarters battle scenarios. We began day one with live fire pistol drills, including techniques designed to facilitate retention when in close contact with an adversary, as well as positions of compromised access to the weapon. This included techniques for deploying the weapon when in actual body contact with the adversary from various angles. Later we moved on to using the pistol as an impact device in combination with live fire, and practiced inducing out-of-battery conditions, and learned how these might occur, as well as methods to quickly recognize and rectify these situations.
During the afternoon, Crafty gave us a thorough background regarding the use of short and improvised impact weapons deployed in various ways to most efficiently neutralize the adversary. This included knives (folded), sticks, both rattan and padded, kubatons and other improvised weapons such as carabiners. We practiced methodically and dynamically with hard but safe impact intensity, using both other students and Marc & Eric as coaches/sparring partners. Roles were well-defined, and rough-and-tumble contact encouraged and employed
Marc explained the finer points of weapon manipulation and defense against an aggressor, focusing on forcing the adversary into a physically-compromised and/or painful position and bringing him to the ground for final neutralization. Marc repeatedly emphasized consistency across categories, explaining that the ingrained muscle memory motions of hand-to-hand should mirror those used when employing an weapons of any type. As he told us: “In the adrenal state, you will do what you’ve trained.”
Day two began with advanced knife-fighting techniques, some innovative blade-retention and offensive maneuvers, basic stabs and cuts, and lots of drills resulting in training partners forced onto their backs on the ground. “Higher consciousness through harder contact,” indeed! Marc demonstrated along with Eric techniques to maneuver oneself into advantageous positions against adversaries, including behind them, and then to decisively end the fight. Blade edge position and corresponding techniques used with various knife holds were taught, emphasizing inflicting maximum target damage in the most efficient manner possible. More stick and impact weapon drills followed, with continued coaching, correction and helpful suggestions from both Eric and Marc. They were careful to make sure each student understood the techniques being taught, and could demonstrate them in practice with their training opponent.
During the afternoon of the second day, Eric moved into pistol-based weapon strips, disarms and retention drills. We practiced both with training partners and impact dummies, learning how to smoothly transition from disarming the adversary to using the confiscated weapon as an impact device against the opponent. This was done at very close range with many repetitions, ensuring that the techniques were well-understood and able to be executed properly with appropriate power and speed. We also practiced groundwork, including engaging with the pistol from the ground and bringing adversaries to the ground along with us if disabled.
In the morning on day three, Eric gave us a thorough overview of improvised weapons that can be used when in confined and/or non-permissive environments. Boots, gloves, striking devices, extricating oneself from constraints, and methods to deceive and surprise adversaries were covered. Eric demonstrated the use of impact devices including saps, carabiners, and flashlights. He also showed us an impressive and extensive array of extremely effective and non-obtrusive (stealth) items that can be easily carried and deployed when necessary without drawing prior attention to oneself. We covered handling clothing interference and weapon snags upon drawing from concealment, including quickly clearing malfunctions and getting the pistol back into action while continually covering one’s adversary. In addition, Eric demonstrated and we repeatedly practiced shooting through clothing safely when appropriate and necessary, including resolving resulting out-of-battery conditions smoothly and quickly.
The afternoon of the third day was spent working with Crafty and Eric to understand and employ Marc’s “dog-catcher” technique, as well as understand the evolution of this amazingly innovative and extremely effective maneuver. Utilizing this technique against a knife-wielding adversary could very well give you the upper hand and save your life. Living in times such as we are, all of the training we received may well be invaluable at some point when faced with a bad actor intent on inflicting maximum carnage. Now more than ever - this material is important not only for law enforcement and military, but for the average citizen to master, as it becomes increasingly likely that the fight will come to you at some point.
All in all, an incredibly valuable and enjoyable time with great instructors, great food, great conversation and humor and physical surroundings of such majesty and beauty as to make our spirits soar to new heights.