AAR- ECQC with Craig Douglas

AAR- ShivWorks Extreme Close Quarter Concepts

When- November 11-13, 2016

Where- Nappanee Conservation Club

Course Overview:

“The ShivWorks Extreme Close Quarter Concepts (ECQC) course is a two and a half day (20 hours) block of instruction which focuses on a multi-disciplinary approach to building functional, combative handgun skills at zero to five feet. The course is designed to instill core concepts of seamless integration and provide the platform for aggressive problem solving during a life or death struggle. A heavy emphasis is placed upon commonality of body mechanics between skill sub-sets, which means that all combative software is reinforcing. Once the student’s skill sets are initially ingrained, the participant will be stress inoculated with force on force drills utilizing marking cartridges and protective equipment.”

About me:

Currently 24 years-old and work in the golf industry. I have zero LE or Mil experience. I wrestled in high school for 3 years and was mediocre at best. I’ve also been doing judo/grappling/striking martial arts on and off for about 10 years. Over the course of the last two years I’ve done over 300 hours worth of training. Most of that firearm based. Some medical. That training was with: MDFI, Sentinel Concepts, Dark Angel Medical, Tactical Response, Aprill Risk Consulting, and Handgun Combatives. One class of note for this review is Tactical Response’s (yes, I know) The Fight. It is a two day force on force class where you are run through different scenarios with a Simuition gun. It is not a physical class in that you cannot get physical with role players. It is very different than ECQC, but the closest I’ve done in regards to FoF with a gun.

I say this so people can get an idea of who I am and my background.

Managing Unknown Contacts (MUC):

What we say and how we say it. Movement. And what we do with our hands. This is the primary focus of MUC. Craig also went into pre-assault cues. I feel this portion of the class could likely be a two-day class in and of itself. People who do or don’t carry a gun could take what they learn here and apply it to their life.

We got to take what Craig taught us and apply it with other people in the class. This will be a common theme for the class. Craig shows us what to do and how to do it then we practice it with a partner. Then at some point in the class you will get to practice it with sim guns involved.

Live Fire:

The live fire portion of the class was on Saturday and Sunday morning. The live fire portion is not a major part of the class. You spend a lot of time at contact distance working on how to safely and properly shoot in that range. We also worked on managing shooting from inside about 4 yards. I won’t go into much more detail on this because there’s really not much to tell. Take the class if you really want to see.

Physical Practice:

After the range portion on Saturday we spent the afternoon working on clinches and getting out of clinches in a weapons based environment. Craig uses a lot of Greco roman based wrestling moves slightly modified for the weapons based environment. For me a lot of it was somewhat familiar, but still a little different.

Some people seem to think if they get physical with someone they can just draw their gun and solve the problem. If you are one of those people take this class. Seriously. It’s not that easy. Craig discusses what to do and what not to do.

We got to practice the techniques on each other. Sometimes it was consensual non-competitive. Meaning you pretty much let your partner do the technique so they can get the reps and practice in on it. Other times it was non-consensual competitive. This means you’re not letting the other person do technique and you are actively resisting each other. This was the start of our pressure testing what we learned.

Pressure testing:

Having spent much of Saturday afternoon working on different wrestling based moves we started working in the sim guns. The primary focus was going from an clinch to getting to a position where you could draw your gun. This would be the beginning of our weapons based pressure testing.

We finished the day with a 1 on 1 evolution. One person starts on their back with a holstered sim gun. The other person starts standing and tries to get on top of them. Either person can take the gun and shoot the other. This was definitely non-consensual competitive.

I went up against someone similar in age, size, and background. I started on the ground. He was in my guard and kept going for my gun. He was eventually able to get it out and shoot me with it. Yeah, I know. You’re a badass and you’d never let anyone ever get your gun from you because you’re just that good. When he and I switched roles I was able to get his gun and shoot him with it. It was a great experience for the both of us.

Fast forwarding to Sunday afternoon we moved to the 2 on 1 evolutions. The way it works is you have a three-person group in the “Thunder Dome”. One person has the sim gun. There is an initial encroacher and second encroacher. Initial encroacher is the one who really sets the scene for the gun carrier’s evolution. Secondary encroacher doesn’t get involved until Craig lets them and they can be whoever they want.

I love the fact Craig leaves it up to the students to set the scene. Initial encroachers ranged from strong-arm robbers, to Hillary Clinton supporters, to hysterical parents looking for children, and a number of other people. Not every evolution results in a physical fight or shooting.

This portion of the class forced us to use everything we learned and apply it to the scenarios. I will say Craig does a great job of putting together groups where people aren’t going to be horribly disadvantaged compared to the other people in the group. The big dude that moves like he weighs 120 pounds and has a deep BJJ background went against other big dudes with a BJJ background.

Craig Douglas as an Instructor:

Craig is a great instructor and fun guy to take a class with. He likes to joke around, but doesn’t let the class get off track and waste too much time. I was impressed with how polite he was. During class introductions and closing he thanks each person individually for attending the class. By the end he had positive things to say to each person. He had something different to say to each individual. Craig really paid attention to not only remember your name, but also you as a person and student. I’ve not seen any other instructor do that and it impressed me.

Craig clearly has his content down well. The way he builds on what you have learned and layers the cake makes learning easier. At no time did I feel overwhelmed with information, but Craig still packed in a lot of info. Craig makes you feel comfortable with asking questions as well. There were no stupid questions and he was very patient.

Final Thoughts:

One of the best classes I have taken. Yes, it’s a fairly physical class and it may hurt your feels. You will likely be sore by the end of TD3. Don’t let that hold you back. Come as you are. Don’t worry about “I need to work on my ground game” or “I need to get in better shape”. You’ll find out in the class if you really need to and it will be a good audit of where you are.

I would also like to add I feel my background in wrestling and martial arts did help me quite a bit especially in situations where I faced bigger opponents. I do still have more to work on and improve.

I would like to add one final note. Jeff Tinsley was the host of the class. He is a great host. The range fee collected covered lunch for both full days of class. It was a great value and made the experience in class all the better. Thank you Jeff and I will gladly travel down to Indiana and attend other classes you host.
I really wanted to make this one but timing wasn't right. I've been wanting to take this class for a while now. Glad to read that it was a good time.
Outside the stated equipment requirements, could you make recommendations on what to pack if traveling to this class?

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You don't have to pack much really. Bring a mouthpiece, your EDC layout, a cup and a long sleeved shirt or 2 if you choose. And if you carry a knife daily, bring your trainer with you. Other than that, it's a very low-yield equipment course.