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ECQC Review - From a Woman's Perspective


  • ECQC Review - From a Woman's Perspective

    By Foxy Brown, Shivwork's Alumni -- Originally posted in the forum

    Hi Everyone. I recently had the privilege of taking ECQC (09/13-09/15) with Southnarc and Paul Sharp. All I can say about this class is summed up by, “WOW. Completely worthwhile.” I felt like writing a review of this course from a chick’s perspective because I really believe that any woman who carries a gun for self-defense must take this course. So, guys, if you are working on convincing your woman to take this class, hopefully this input will help.

    About me--I’m a pretty scrawny and gangly chick, ~5’10”, 140lbs, and I’ve had a decent amount of firearms instruction. I have had zero martial arts, though…except getting kicked in the box in Tae Kwon Do as a 7 year old… I feel that if I can do this class with my lack of physical skill or strength, then any female can. The progression of the class was spot on as far as skill building goes.

    The class started off on Friday evening with Southnarc discussing the Criminal Assault Paradigm and then progressed into Managing Unknown Contacts (MUC). I loved this portion of the class. I found this very relevant to my life and even some experiences I’ve had in the past. I’ve never thought about screaming at someone as part of managing unknown/unwanted contact. (Let me just say, it is effective—PoPo Justin…..just sayin’.).

    Also, on the first day, we were shown the basics of positioning and how that directly translates into successfully fending off someone. Being that my skill level in this arena is non-existent, I found this to be a little challenging simply because I had no fundamental base to use as a starting point. However, I still learned a lot. If you are considering this class, Day 1 alone is jam packed with enough practical and directly applicable information to negate any nerves, uncertainty or worries about the rest of the class.

    Day 2 started off with building on shooting skills. Being that the gun world is my comfort zone, I was pretty excited about this portion of class. I feel that the application of existing skills in the manner outlined in this class took my shooting to another level. I’m excited to hit the range and am ready to drill what I learned. I absolutely loved the application of shooting from the 2 and 3 positions.

    The second half of Day 2 started by drilling the basic positioning techniques that we had just learned the previous day. Then from there the class continued to build on skills. In spite of my lack of fundamental skills, I still felt I could handle the pace of the class. If I could handle it, then any other woman can.

    If I could offer any advice, it would be to speak up to your training partner about the level of force you are comfortable with. In some cases, I asked the men I was working with to give me a chance to practice the technique a few times before putting any force into executing it. After that, I felt comfortable asking my training partners to use more resistance or force to make me work at the technique. After all, one can’t expect a man to ‘hand it to you’ in training 100% of the time, then hope the experience will effectively translate into successfully fighting off an attacker in real life (likely also a man who will not 'hand it to you').

    Eventually the instruction led to fighting on the ground. This segued into the first evolution—fighting off of your back. If you are a woman considering this class, I would say you cannot allow yourself to be intimidated by the evos. I would make the argument that a man sticking a gun or knife in your face and trying to overpower you is going to be one hell of a lot more intimidating than the training scenarios. If anything, this is the best opportunity I’'ve had to understand and realize that there are still ways to work out of a shit situation like being over powered. As a female, I expect to be over powered by a man—that’s the most likely scenario that I will face in reality (unless I break out my ninja warrior side and disappear in a flash and puff of smoke). However, if that happens, it doe not mean that all hope is lost
    I haven’t even covered the last day yet and there was some awesome stuff I learned then. But since this is already crazy long, I’ll post my thoughts about that another time.

    To any woman waffling on whether or not to take ECQC, I say take it. If I can handle it then anyone can. Being timid cannot be used as an excuse because a bad guy isn’'t going to hear that then give you a pass. Also, it is very important to realize that you own the intensity level that you reach in this class. Craig did a fantastic job of keeping the men-folk wrangled into a training mind set. He made it crystal clear when to dial up or dial down the pace and intensity of the exercises. The men I was working with were also great at keeping the intensity level appropriate. However, that being said, if something is too extreme for your ability, then you must speak up.

    Now, to the men folk, if you ARE trying to convince your wife, sister, girlfriend—whomever to take the class DO NOT START off your conversation by showing her videos of the 2 on 1 Evos! I can tell you first hand that this will NOT help your argument! I first signed up for the class based on input and suggestions from guys I’ve been shooting with. The verbal description alone sounded a bit intimidating. But, I figured, hey, I know this is a gap in my skills so I probably should take this class. THEN, I searched YouTube high and low for anything I could find related to “ECQC,” “Southnarc,”etc….BIG MISTAKE…. After seeing those videos, my thoughts were this (in exactly this order): Oh my god, I’m going to die. What the hell did I sign up for? If I don’t die I’m going to break something….holy shit I’m going to die. What did I do to myself? Oh crap, I bet I’m going to cry during this weekend….shit…. Maybe I’ll break something before this weekend so I have a good excuse to back out.

    The reality turned out to be that I found myself laughing much more than I anticipated all weekend long. And mostly, I was laughing at my own bountiful mistakes.

    I’m going on the record and saying that in my opinion, YouTube is NOT helpful for us ladies to understand what ECQC entails. But, if it is too late and you’ve shown your girl the YouTube content, slap yourself cos you’ve done something silly and then try a different approach. (I suggest the course description on Shivworks.)

    PART II:

    Day 3: We started with shooting as we did on Saturday. However, this time, my poor little triceps was so sore that it was hard to hold the 2 position and then reholster! And again, as on Saturday, the information presented was very well thought out, clearly explained and carefully drilled. We did a lot of shooting from the 2 position, this time adding shields to the drill. We also drilled shooting from the 3 position and then extending out to 4, as permitted by space. As this is my comfort zone, I could have spent all day working on these shooting drills. I found the pace reasonable, but definitely wanted more reps. I understand, though, that this is not a shooting class.I know I have a lot of opportunity to improve my moving and compressing and then putting up my shield. This is definitely something I’m looking forward to drilling, too.

    When the shooting module finished, we took our lunch break. FYI, ladies (and men) I had learned on Saturday the importance of eating light before an afternoon of trying to push skilled wrestlers/jujitsu/just plain freakin’ huge dudes around….so half a sandwich for me for lunch.

    We moved right into the 2 on 1 evo. I actually thoroughly enjoyed this portion of class. Seeing what dilemmas everyone faced and how they worked out of it was very educational. The best part though, in my opinion, was the break down at the end of each person’s evolution. I think the way Southnarc asked us all to think about what we did and then WHY we did X, Y or Z thing is one of the most educational parts of the course. This really made each person think about what happened, in detail, from start to finish. (I also believe, without first-hand knowledge, that this would be very similar to how one may have to deal with police should someone have to face a real life scenario….minus the blue and red lights and the hand cuffs—ok, so this almost sounds like it could be Bunny Ranch theme! …..and ya, I went there….).

    My turn eventually came for the 2 on 1….for the record, I’m not exactly sure where all the shit talking came from, it is NOT my nature…but boy I sure did my fair share! Example:

    Bad Guy (PoPo Justin), “Oh, I’m hurt real bad!”

    Me, “GOOD!....” ??? What?! I said, “GOOD!” …No, actually, I screamed it….

    Watching the video of my 2 on 1 evo was supremely helpful. Where I thought I had raised my voice, sufficiently, in reality I failed at MUC. Another thing I did was fail to draw the training gun efficiently. When I think back on why I didn’t draw well, it is because I was so focused on trying to keep PoPo Justin back. I’ve drawn my gun in practice hundreds, if not thousands of times. This evolution alone underscored for me exactly what this kind of pressure can do to someone, in spite of how much I’ve practice…. I simply need more (and more FOCUSED) training.

    In watching the video, I see so many mistakes that I made. Importantly, though, in trying to explain my actions to Southnarc and the group at large, I did not feel any kind of negative judgment that made me feel embarrassed or stupid at all. In fact, I think that my 2 on 1 was one giant mistake after another. I did a few things right (but tactically speaking, it is probably NOT wise to announce to someone that, “I’m going to fucking stab you!” ….yes, I said that, too….). The move to the knife was intuitive…but announcing it was pretty damned dumb. …and I’m still laughing about that! Coming in to the class, based on my YouTube stalking, I was actually pretty nervous about having to dissect my actions in front of a (relatively) large group. It seemed to me that it would be a lot of pressure and perhaps, even embarrassing. The reality is though that this was most helpful. Even hearing the other guys in class talk about what they did as well hearing what feedback they were given was very helpful.

    Where I may have perceived my own action one way, the discussion helped me realize that in the moment, I should have thought differently than what I actually did. And, again, I really can’t over emphasize that this was all done in a spirit of teaching and helping to improve.

    After we all had our turn getting our asses handed to us, we took a short break and then moved on to the car evolution. I was actually really interested in this. From the female perspective, should I be overpowered (as previously discussed, it is NOT unlikely) and forced into a car, I have a few ideas now of how to handle that. Number one is the fighting mindset—never quit. My life, my sanity and my peace are far too valuable for me to just let some Schmoe drag me into a van and drive me off into the woods to do God knows what…. Due to the size disparity of females with my frame vs. men, getting shoved into a car could be a likely reality.

    The number two reason I liked this evolution is because it helped me shift my thinking to realize that the same fundamentals (which I yet need to learn) still apply. I very much liked how Southnarc showed us that we can still establish a base and work from there—even in a cramped truck. In fact, I felt I had more leverage in the car evo than out in the open where I had to use more speed or skill (which I don’t yet have) or strength (which is certainly a losing proposition for me).

    There is one other thing that I learned from the car evo that I had never considered. This was how to be a good training partner. The car evo worked out that we took turns being the aggressor. I was definitely too focused on ‘winning’ (meaning I was planning to successfully ‘rob’ Scott). My lanky build played into this mindset—if I ever felt douche-bagish and wanted to rob someone, I probably wouldn’t let that person walk away uninjured cos I’m just too damned scrawny to try to fight for his/her wallet, purse or whatever. ….well, I applied that mentality to my position as the aggressor. I demanded Scott’s money then just shot him with a sims round….right off the bat. This makes for high entertainment value (“Give me your fucking money!” BANG), but also for a crappy training partner.

    So, for me, the car evolution delivered high on learning.

    To sum up the class as a whole, I came into it knowing “I didn’t know what I didn’t know.” I honestly did not even expect to have any success in fending off a guy. While it was a struggle, in some cases I was able to create enough space to access my (training) gun. I walked in to class almost expecting to be embarrassed—and this expectation was so far off base. I did not expect to have any success. The list of the things I NEED to learn is way too long to type out. On the other hand, while I would never go so far as to say that I ‘owned’ any guy in class, I did do a few things right (these are just the few things that come to mind right now. If I think of anything else, I’ll add to the list):

    I learned how to use my legs/lower body to push back and create space.

    I learned to be vigilant for a chance to access my weapon(s) without them being taken from me.

    I learned to ask for a specific intensity level in working with the guys.

    If any woman is unsure of this class, I suggest to just suck it up and take the class. Try not to let YouTube or Mountain Goat drills or anything else get into your head. It was previously mentioned that the class is a douche-bag free zone and that is completely true. I worried quite a bit that some machismo guy would DDT me or arm bar my elbow into 3 pieces in an evo just to prove something—this was not even close to my real experience. In hind sight, I wasted a lot of good energy worrying about that too….

    Final tips from my perspective for ladies:
    1) Cut your finger nails or you will scratch the guys. And, they will probably break anyway…

    2) If your hair is long, put it in a bun, not a pony tail so it doesn’t get caught in anything

    3) I don’t suggest wearing make up because it will either sweat or rub off. (And, sorry guys, you did get me au naturale)

    4) DON’T FEEL EMBARRASSED!! Show up to learn….you don’t have to be a butch-type to walk away with a positive learning experience.
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