AMOK! Training with Tom Sotis
This is a discussion on AMOK! Training with Tom Sotis within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; My wife and I just completed the Amok! course at The Warrior's Forge (Team Ruthless) in Manassas, Virginia. It’s real nice to have such quality ...
December 8th, 2008 01:12 PM
AMOK! Training with Tom Sotis
My wife and I just completed the Amok! course at The Warrior's Forge (Team Ruthless) in Manassas, Virginia. It’s real nice to have such quality courses presented at the gym in Manassas because Dino and Ashley do such a good job bringing in top people and it also makes it close to home and saves me on airfare and hotels.
Team Ruthless also has range in Cullpepper for the live fire courses.
Even though this is a knife course, all of Tom's training translates well to CQB siutations with firearms.
The class was full of some familiar faces and we also met some new friends.
As usual Tom Sotis was a first class act. He is an outstanding instructor who knows not only the techniques but the why behind them.
Although this is a fairly physical course, his courses are at least as much mental as physical.
Day One - Managing the Kill Zone - 1
We started with a discussion about the AMOK! methodology which is what Tom calls “guided discovery”.
One of the reasons that so many traditional martial artists have trouble translating their craft from the dojo to the street is that they start with learning the blocks, parries, strikes, stances, footwork, etc. then progress to working on using them in a sparing context.
The problem when they move to the street is that they end up trying to force a particular technique into the chaos that is real fighting.
The guided discovery approach starts with the chaos of the fight.
We started with sparring with an uncooperating partner who was trying to stab or slice us as much as we were trying to stab or slice him (using Nok trainers of course).
Little by little, out of the chaos, we discovered that we were consistently succeeding with some parries and attacks while failing consistently with others. The interesting thing is that it was different for each person. What worked naturally and was comfortable for one person didn’t work for someone else.
This is what Tom called “finding your own truth”.
We then moved from the active fighting to the more structured training where we learned and refine techniques (the area traditional martial arts start with).
I’m sure we are all familiar with the OODA loop (observe-orient-decide-act). Tom said that although we can use the OODA loop much of the time, sometimes during the chaos of a close quarters conflict, things are happening so fast that we don’t have time to use the OODA loop. We need to function on autopilot for short periods of time. He calls these points NODA points; the points at which we are acting on autopilot.
His example was when you first learn to drive, everything is difficult. Just controlling the car is a major task. Then with experience you get to where the actual steering, using the brake and gas pedal become subconscious (on autopilot) freeing your mind up to work on other important tasks.
Day one was fantastic. We left really pumped for the next session.
Day Two - Edged Weapons Takedowns and Finishes
If day one was fantastic, day too was simply amazing.
According to Tom, the major thing to know about take downs isn’t any specific technique but the theory of the structure of the human body.
He showed us the places you can apply pressure to “destucture” the stability of your opponent: ankles, knees, hips, mid torso, shoulders, neck and head.
He showed us how if we push or pull 45 degrees from the parallel position of any of these areas, the stance simply destuctures.
Guys, I’m telling you that this stuff really works. My wife was struggling unsuccessfully to take me down. All of a sudden, I went down like a ton of bricks. I out weigh my wife by about 180 pounds but she dropped me like I was toddler. We went back to see what happened and she was able to work out that her first attempts had been to try to move me at a 90 degree angle. When she “accidentally” move me at a 45 degree angle, that was when I went down.
Unfortunately for me, now a light bulb went on in her head and I started consistently being abused. She had a great time.
Tom showed us how the same knife techniques we learned over the two day course translate easily to empty hands as well as close in gun fighting. So by learning these knife skills, we automatically add to our empty hand and CQB gun fighting skills.
This was both a physical and mental class.
We both now have a good case of “AMOK! Pox”. That’s the bruises up and down our arms and torso from two days of this physical class.
This was our second time training with Tom. He is coming back in June and I will be there.
If you haven’t trained with Tom Sotis before, you really do need to see what you are missing. If you have trained with Tom, well . . . . I’m just preaching to the choir.
fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).
December 8th, 2008 01:12 PM
December 9th, 2008 01:20 PM
Thanks for the review, Paul.
Tom certainly is an engaging instructor and his material speaks for itself.
December 11th, 2008 11:33 AM
Tom puts on an exceptional class. I hosted him here in Chattanooga in August and he is coming back in January.
December 12th, 2008 02:29 AM
Good review, Tom is yet another instructor on my "gotta train with this guy" list.
"Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina
If you carry in Condition 3, you have two empty chambers. One in the weapon...the other between your ears.
December 12th, 2008 06:04 PM
Well Tex, the highway runs from Missori to Chattanooga nad we'd be glad to have you in class!
December 13th, 2008 02:41 AM
December 13th, 2008 09:03 AM
I have trained with Tom something like 12-13 times. Including in Thailand, South Africa and Europe.
As far as I am concerned he is the best knife combatives instructor on the planet.
After training with him I no longer feel "underarmed" if all I have is a blade.
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