This is a discussion on Force on Force in Manassa, Virginia within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; WARNING: Long Post, so grab some coffee before you start reading. During the first weekend in March, I attended the two day Interactive Gun Fighting ...
WARNING: Long Post, so grab some coffee before you start reading.
During the first weekend in March, I attended the two day Interactive Gun Fighting course presented in Manassas by Gabe Suarez.
This was my first force on force session.
My background is that I shoot IPSC competitions, take training classes when I can and try my best to live at the range. I am 55 years old and am in the process of losing weight and attempting to get into shape but have a long way to go. So, physically I am a far cry from the ďwarriorĒ Gabe tries to train his students to be.
This being my first FOF class, I had some apprehension about what would happen at the class. After all, I had never met Gabe. He is definitely an athlete and his pictures on his various books always make him look like a bad dude. So, in the back of my mind I sorta pictured him as a tough dude who probably liked to show how bad he was and how sad you are.
On top of that, the course was held at a place called Team Ruthless in Manassas. After I signed up I thought, ďwhat the heck am I doing here? These guys are going to kill meĒ.
So now the course is over and I am bruised up with little pellet marks on my body reminding me that if you donít move, you get shot. Am I a bad dude defensive shooter now? No. What I am is enlightened.
My overall impression of the course is that it was a real eye opener and well worth the money. I am going to try to hook up with some of the guys and gals in the area and do some practicing with FOF. I will definitely continue this type of training as often as the Finance Director (She Who Must Be Obeyed) will let me.
1) One fact driven home up front: if you donít move, you WILL get shot.
2) Forget the 21 foot rule. It was only intended to show that a bad guy can be a threat much further away from you than you might think. It has no relevance in a close quarters battle. If you think the fight will start that far away, I believe that you are fooling yourself.
3) During the knife vs gun portion, it became apparent that under the stress of having an adversary barreling at you with a training knife intent on knocking your helmet off, your nice neat crisp draw goes to hell in a hand basket.
I am a 1911 guy. I love my Kimber. It fits my hand well and has a slim profile. But having no Airsoft pistol, I had to borrow one from Jack (a Suarez International instructor here in Virginia). It was a Glock Ė you know, that High Tech Tupperware! This model was a steel gun that really felt like a Glock.
I practice enough that I can draw pretty well from concealment. But I have to tell you, during this class (when almost all of the 1911 guys had problems disengaging the safety on their Airsoft 1911ís) I was glad that I didnít have to get a perfect grip or pop off my safety.
Maybe this can be mitigated by practicing a LOT of FOF with a 1911 Airsoft pistol. I donít know but I am seriously thinking about a Glock (Noooooooooo!!! Did I just say that???? Argggh!!!).
4) Capacity is a good thing. Another reason that Tupperware is starting to look good to me (Oh God, I think Iím gonna puke!).
5) If the bad guy is within 10 feet of you, you had better have some decent hand-to-hand ability in your tool box or you may not get the chance to deploy your gun in the first place. The FOF drills were not pretty. Things didnít look like they do on TV. A lot of hand-to-hand because the bad guy got to you before you could get your gun out. Sometimes the bad guy attacked the gun and knocked it from guys hands.
6) The better shape you are in, the less you get shot.
7) I donít like being a Sheeple. We did bank robbery scenarios where everyone in the place was instructed to be a Sheeple and do what the bad guys say except for a lone armed good guy or two. Neither the bad guys nor the Sheeple knew who the good guys were.
Even though it wasnít real, I REALLY didnít like it. Iíve said before that if a bad guy with a gun says to get down on the floor, I donít think I could do it. Now I know I canít. God help us!
8) In these scenarios, even though we knew they arenít real, confusion reigns. Put your head down for a second and when you raise it amid all the shooting, it takes a long time to orient yourself to understand who is who and what they are doing.
9) My original concerns about Gabe and the class were totally unfounded. First off, Gabe is a good guy. He has a great sense of humor and is quick to laugh.
Secondly, even though he doesnít mince words about his gun fighting theories and the need to get into shape, he does it in a very positive way. If you canít move, he wants you to try to move a little. If you can move a little, he wants you to move a little more. The theory appears to be that everyone can improve their ability to fight.
As an instructor, he has a commanding presence and explains things very well. By his actions he shows you that he isnít interested in impressing you with what he can do but how you can get better at what you need to do.
10) With practice, you can consistently get good hits while moving flat out. Dino (from Team Ruthless) and Jack both showed this to be true.
11) Donít dismiss anyone as a threat just because they are not a big man. Ashley from Team Ruthless was also in the class. She is a small girl who just happens to be a s strong as a horse and could probably take her knife and cut me up like the Thanksgiving Turkey.
Now, I don't want anyone to think that I am saying that the range time is not good. The range is where you learn accuracy, timing, all the administrative and emergency gun handling. The FOF session is where you test it all out and determine any corrective action you need. Gabe calls it the "crucible of force on force".
That's another thing I like about Gabe. He doesn't advocate any particular techniques. If it works he uses it, if it doesn't he discards it.
Like I said, a very enlightening experience.
So now I am planning to do more FOF and keep learning and improving. I just signed up for a knife class this summer with Tom Sotis. Whatís next? Maybe some hand to hand or stick fighting with Marc Denny?
I believe that Jack is going to do some more FOF classes soon and Gabe said that he wants to come back to the area next year.
Gee, I may just have to get a membership at Team Ruthless. A conditioning class would not go amiss. Am I crazy or what?
fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).
Nice review! I'm signed up for a pair of Gabe Suarez classes in early May, including Interactive Gunfighting. From your post it sounds like it should be pretty interesting.
Thanks for the report...this fat old body could use something like that...I think I'd really be sweatin' and puffin' though...
Proverbs 27:12 says: ďThe prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.Ē
Certified Glock Armorer
NRA Life Member
When I said I needed to lose weight, I'm talking about another 90 or 100lbs. I have what Gabe called a "successful life body".
Early on, we were debriefing the drill we just finished and Gabe said "Listen. There's a lot of heavy breathing going on here and we just got started".
I responded with "Yeah, I notice that some of THEM should get into better shape".
Gabe just smiled and said, "Yeah, THEY should".
The thing is Gabe said he didn't want to push people past what they are capable of doing. He just wanted us to push beyond our present comfort level.
We also had several of us senior citizens in the class. For all you "well seasoned" guys out there, there is hope.
It was funny that some of us sat down between drills to rest our old knees but these same guys came at you with a vengence when the drill was on.
fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).
Sounds great! Thanks for the information.
"Hell of a thing, killin' a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have."
- William Munny (Clint Eastwood in the Unfrogivin)
ďThe graveyards are full of indispensable men.Ē Ė Napoleon Bonaparte
ďMy Idea of a fair fight is beating baby seals with a clubĒ