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Thread: AAR: SouthNarc 2.5 Day ECQC 11/09-12/2012 in High View, WV

  1. #1
    Murder Machine, Harmless Fuzzball TCinVA's Avatar
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    Feb 2011

    AAR: SouthNarc 2.5 Day ECQC 11/09-12/2012 in High View, WV

    So Mr. AAR guy is now presented with the challenge of writing an AAR for ECQC. That isn't going to be easy. Due to time constraints and the effort involved with trying to wrestle what I took away from the course into words, I'm not going to attempt to make one comprehensive AAR post. Instead, I'm going to focus on a few major themes and talk about each of them and invite the other participants in the class to add their thoughts on those topics as well.

    The Coursework:

    At the end of day 2.5 having been through all of the drills, all of the training evolutions, and having listened to all the lecture portions of the course I came to the conclusion that ECQC had to be one of the most well-engineered, well-choreographed, well-executed, and sophisticated courses of instruction I've ever encountered. I don't limit that to simply instruction I've encountered in firearms training. I've had the opportunity to take classes with SME's in a number of different disciplines ranging from pieces of software to psychology and even forensic science, and the ECQC program is one of the most effective means of transferring the benefit of a great deal of study and experience into a group of students within a short time span that I've ever encountered.

    It's simply impossible to be conscious during this course and not walk away with several pieces of information that change your perspective on interpersonal violence. By "change" I do not merely mean mental acknowledgement of a piece of information's value, but rather the sort of knowledge that anchors deep and weaves into the fabric of your entire world view and that will influence your actions and reactions from that point forward.

    The ECQC course blends easily digestible lessons in street smarts with practical instruction in combatives, the integration of weapons into combatives and street survival, and ultimately practical application of all principles taught in the class at speed under the stress of violent opposition. You're going to hear the instructor tell you what works, you're going to drill it a bit, and then you're going to try and use it against one or more opponents who are going to try their best to impose their will upon you. Somewhere in that process you're going to figure some stuff out.

    If you're a gun guy, you'll figure out that there are plenty of violent problems your gun won't solve. If you've always got a plan, you'll figure out that plans typically last right up until you take the first hit. If you've got lots of aggression and no skill, you'll figure out that aggression doesn't matter much when a dude has you side-mounted and is shooting you in the crotch with your own pistol. If you've got lots of aggression and lots of skill, you'll figure out that if you don't learn how dial back the hate that things can end just as badly for you as if you were unskilled and passive. If you think that a fellow student doesn't look intimidating, you'll figure out that what he may lack in obvious physical strength he more than makes up for with incredible resolve to twist somebody into a knot and feed them their own gun and you'll probably start thinking pretty hard about how much you can really tell about a person before you've seen them under real stress.

    If you showed up at this course and didn't fire a single shot or participate in a single drill, you'd still walk away having seen things that will stir questions in the places people don't like to talk about at parties.

    There's a lot of random noise out there in the training world, but the ECQC coursework is like a laser beam: An intense, focused, precisely directed beam of energy that projects out of the instructor and bores into your brain until an indelible imprint has been left on your DNA.

    ...and you know what's really messed up about that? I'm not being dramatic. Ask the people who were there.

    The Instructor:

    The instructor for the course deserves special recognition on many fronts:

    - For pulling together a multi-disciplinary program that rethinks much of conventional wisdom in several of those disciplines to fill a void where most fear to tread
    - For honing and refining that program into a finely tuned weapon of mass instruction that literally anyone can learn from as long as they have a pulse
    - For conducting that program with such a deft touch that every student regardless of prior training, skill, athletic ability, or natural talent finds themselves facing their limits without causing any permanent damage
    - For structuring the program in a manner that keeps potential risks to an absolute miniumum while ensuring that people absolutely will feel pain and panic
    - For promoting an environment where people are helping one another to succeed even as they are trying with all their might to violently impose their will on an opponent
    - For eschewing the practice of giving the people what they want in favor of insisting on providing people with what he thinks they need
    - For asking intelligent questions and trying to experimentally validate the answers rather than trying to beat people into submission with stone tablets

    I've watched lots of instructors teach (or try to, in some unfortunate instances) lots of different things, but rarely do you find someone who is as effective in the goal as Craig, AKA "SouthNarc". I tend to be a student of the art of teaching, and as a result I often spot subtleties that others may miss about how a particular course or drill is structured and how it leads to the desired end state. With ECQC I could go on for hours peeling the layers of the course's presentation like an onion. From safety to stress inoculation, participating in ECQC is participating in a master class of how to imprint important information to students. This clearly wasn't his first rodeo.

    At dinner after day 1.5, a student noted that one of the things he liked about Craig was that Craig took the time to explain the "why" behind what he was teaching. I told the student that the primary reason for that was Craig actually understands the "why" with more depth than most. This ain't stuff he got from a powerpoint. It's stuff that's been forged with blood and sweat over a long period with lots of data, lots of experimentation, and lots of frustration. One can disagree with some of the conclusions or some of the applications if they want, but the bottom line is that the end result holds up...and if you've got a better idea all you need to do is put on the FIST helmet, hop in ThunderDome and prove it.

    Craig is a realist and has limits. He acknowledges them...but the zone where he's teaching is definitely the road less traveled and as far as I can tell nobody has a better map or is better able to guide people around it.

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  2. #2

    That may be The best wording on Why ECQC is What it is!!!
    It and CQT at USSA are Must take classes that will Cange your whole being.
    Founder Of Keepers Concealment and Lead trainer. Affiliate of CCW Safe, Use discount code ( KC10off )Sign up here

  3. #3
    Leopard Printer Mr_White's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Gaming In The Streets

    That is indeed a great AAR and it also goes together very well with the various other existing AARs that include a lot of detail about the material and drill progressions.

    I'll add my thoughts here (hopefully that's not too out of order) since they are pretty short and I just took ECQC a couple weeks before you did, only in Olympia, WA. I am sure the coursework was the same.


    What can I say about ECQC that hasn't already been said in all the existing detailed AARs? Maybe not much, but for me the class definitely lived up to its legend. It was indeed strenuous and difficult and demanded perseverance and mental commitment. It exposed everyone's skills and mental and physical attributes that needed improvement. It required not just gun skills, not just knife skills, not just grappling and combatives skills, not just strength and conditioning, and not just real-time decisionmaking, but especially it required connection, and further forged the connections, between those elements under some level of pressure.

    SouthNarcís material and teaching ability are indeed stellar as is universally reported.

    Many thanks to the class host, to all the other students for their great attitudes, camaraderie, and training partnership, and to SouthNarc and his AIs for their hard-won perspective and tutelage in this elusive area of study - the connective tissue between the multiple sub-disciplines.

  4. #4
    Member orionz06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCinVA View Post
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    Is that grass?!?!?!
    Think for yourself. Question authority.

  5. #5
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    Lorton, VA


    Quote Originally Posted by orionz06 View Post
    Is that grass?!?!?!
    That nice looking grass hides a bunch of rocks and broken glass

    Great post Tim, I don't really think there is much I could add to what you've said. You really hit all the high points. I will say, that if you want to take a class and leave feeling like you've mastered the material, this won't be for you. But if you are willing to learn, face your fears, and learn where you need to put in work you'll leave a changed person.

    Huge takeaways for me are, IMPROVE MY FITNESS, work on more hand to hand skills, learn some basic knife skills, and start working more BJJ into my training. If you are gassed in two minutes it's going to be hard to win a fight vs one, let alone multiple attackers. A space/positional problem can rarely be fixed with a gun and if you try to you end up normally with a retention issue in poor position.

    As much as there are times during this class that you want to pack up and go home, skip the next evo, or turn in for the night, I can really say I can't wait to go back and do it again!

    Ryan (I see I made the photos! Too bad you don't have one of me getting powerbombed!)
    Last edited by Ryan327; 11-14-2012 at 08:30 PM.

  6. #6
    Murder Machine, Harmless Fuzzball TCinVA's Avatar
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    Realities of Criminal Assault:

    Throughout ECQC the student is given a hard, realistic, experience-based look at the criminal element of our society and how they operate. The lessons boil down to describing criminal actors as opportunistic predators who attack when they have the greatest advantage and you have the least. Craig refers to the typical criminal assault paradigm as an "unequal initiative" event....and event where the bad guy is on the attack and knows it but the victim does not yet know what is happening.

    The typical criminal assault has several important elements:

    - an attempt to close distance with the intended victim
    - an attempt to fix the intended victim in place long enough to facilitate the assault
    - an attempt to blind the intended victim to encroachment/assault from one or more accomplices
    - employment of some sort of ruse to confuse or task-load the intended victim long enough to facilitate the assault

    With the distance closed and the victim maneuvered into a position of disadvantage and the criminal actor as close as possible, the trap is sprung with violence of action. Perhaps a demand for valuables while cramming a gun under the victim's chin. Perhaps simply beating the victim down and taking their valuables. Etc.

    Craig spends considerable time explaining the importance of distance and positioning, pairing the lecture with useful physical demonstrations that in a visual and immediately understandable way highlight the difference that even a few inches of distance makes in the possibility of doing something to climb out of the "initiative deficit".

    After this demonstration Craig then gives the students useful tools for Managing Unknown Contacts, all aimed at helping the student manage the encroachment of an unknown individual and helping them to recognize indicators of impending violence:

    - grooming movements
    - target scanning
    - rehearsal movements/fidgeting
    - weight shift/loading

    The content on Managing Unknown Contacts (frequently abbreviated as MUC) distills useful street tactics into an easily understood and easily adapted series of actions and verbalization that, when properly employed, maintains the critical distance and reveals hostile intent prior to the trap being sprung. For this reason the MUC presentation is frequently cited by students as one of the most valuable aspects of the course.

    Realities of Street Survival:

    Craig does not sell his instruction as a 2.5 day shortcut to being a devastating street fighter. He does not promise that after a couple of days you'll be snatching a bad man's eyeballs out of the sockets or that you'll be killing gangbangers half a dozen at a time with a 2 inch punch. Craig stated quite clearly that fighting on the street is, at best, a 50/50 proposition.

    It's rare, at least in my experience, to see someone teaching a combatives course who spends his time telling students about what he labeled as his failures. Craig will not stand in front of the ECQC student and claim to have prevailed in hundreds of street encounters without a loss. Instead, he talks about narrowly surviving devastating assaults by street criminals using improvised weapons and how it caused him to rethink some of his training and the insight those experiences and considerable study has given him on the realities of violence. At no time does the ECQC student get the impression that if they just learn "the system" that they'll be invincible. They get the distinct impression that conditioning and good training sets the stage for success, but that criminal assault poses extreme danger even to a very fit, well-trained, strong, armed individual. This is further re-enforced in the training evolutions as students can have an optimal outcome in one evolution and in the next end up pinned to the ground helpless and being shot with their own weapon.

    Craig does not subscribe to the idea that everybody gets a trophy. In watching the instruction and speaking with him both inside and outside the training environment, it's absolutely clear that his primary interest is in preparing the people who are looking to him for answers for the reality that is waiting for them. The instruction is not designed to convince someone that they're ready to take on King Kong and win. It is designed to be a realistic assessment of where that person is. The point isn't to breed false confidence...and yet the student almost invariably leaves ECQC with more confidence despite having been confronted with their limitations. Why? Because the students learn things about themselves. They walk away from ECQC with a more realistic understanding of the violence problem and how well equipped they are to solve it. This alone breeds confidence. Not false bravado and idiotic behavior that the simple-minded mistake for confidence, but real confidence that only comes from really knowing where you are. Typically this goes hand in hand with tangible, concrete steps to correct deficiencies. When you talk to students during breaks at ECQC the conversation is often focused on improving fitness, technical skill in grappling or striking, technical skill with firearms, better information about handling the aftermath of a use of force, better gear...

    Having been provided with a realistic assessment that they cannot hide from, the students internalize the assessment and effortlessly pivot into making strategic moves to improve whatever deficiencies have been revealed. Ponder for a second the significance of that achievement: An instructor puts on a course that deliberately places students in a position where they experience pain and fear and in some extreme cases outright panic, and yet typically they leave the course with the idea that they have control over their destiny and can fix just about any problem that cropped up in the assessment.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    DFW, TX
    200 lbs of Oklahoma farmboy sitting on your chest and taking your gun away from you like candy from a baby has a way of teaching you about your limitations.

    ECQC is great for showing you that you don't know what you don't know.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by TriumphRat675 View Post
    ECQC is great for showing you that you don't know what you don't know.
    That's a one line summary to be sure. Each pass through the class I find a problem or two that's most critical and knock those out. Next pass shows how well I solved them and points out the next set.

    Great AAR TC.

  9. #9
    Site Supporter MDS's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Terroir de terror
    Stop this AAR immediately. I was already planning to take ECQC next year, but this thread has me ready to book a slot in every class on the schedule...
    The answer, it seems to me, is wrath. The mind cannot foresee its own advance. --FA Hayek Specialization is for insects.

  10. #10
    Member Shawn.L's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Excellent thoughts. ECQC is def a more esoteric course than most. It has been for me a big part of a very deep personal journey that has had me question not just the hard skills involved but who I am as a person.
    Pittsburgh, PA host for , and

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