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Old 22 May 2012, 16:39
Mitchell, Esq. Mitchell, Esq. is offline
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SouthNarc ECQC AAR

SB Approved

Class AAR for ECQC
Wallingford, CT May 13-15, 2012

Overall philosophy of ECQC:

The overall philosophy I got from ECQC is to test.

This class will test your understanding of people by observing how they act regarding pre-fight tells, and how to interact with them so that you can interrupt their thinking and make them react to you instead of you to them.

It also tested equipment and abilities, everything from the student’s holster & belt set up, marksmanship ability, the student’s ability to draw a weapon, physical aptitude, grappling skill, mental toughness, verbal agility, endurance and if you can take a fall and keep on fighting.

Craig uses the word “Audit” when talking about his class, and it may seem strange to consider a training class in that way, but it fits very well.

You aren’t only taking the class to learn new skills, you are supposed to find out if the ones you think you have mastered actually work against a malevolent opposing will, and if they fit into the paradigm of a close quarters criminal assault.

ECQC is a great way to find out your weaknesses and strengths are. Some people don’t want to know this, and practice training that validates them, and skills which they are good at. In ECQC you can’t chose to avoid the things you aren’t good at because the class format doesn’t let you.

I learned my shooting was adequate to the task for the most part, but that in the ECQC realm, other skills are significantly more important, like standing grappling, grounded grappling, footwork, strength, endurance, pain tolerance, awareness for early pickup of assault precursors & verbal skills to pre-empt the physical aspects of the encounter.

I got a rude awakening when it comes to grappling, and I’m glad to have found it out now when the remedy is week of sleep, some pain killers and finding a BJJ school instead of dental work, surgery, steel pins and physical therapy.


This class took place on a shooting range, but make no mistake about it, this class was very demanding class when it came to physical skills. I don’t think anyone walked away happy with their own fitness, seeing no need to improve.

The pressure level in the class was something I looked forward to because it pretty conclusively invalidated some things I’ve been training in before. I love the Aki-Jujitsu I did in the past…but it’s really a parlor trick.

A good frame of reference for some of the disarms so I can conceptualize what I’m supposed to be trying to do to the limb, but beyond that, “meh”.


The class consisted of people with many varying physical makeup’s and fitness levels. It ranged from a NYPD officer who is, to put it mildly, “impressive in size & skill” to an older man who had no background in martial arts.

However, everyone braced up and dove right in with max effort and never let up in class. Nobody gave up because they were tired, sore or just didn’t feel like pushing the envelope. It drove home the point that it is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.


What was used: Glock 19, inside the pocket mag holders made from old pocket holsters/ Blade-Tech IWB holster & Comp-Tac C-Tac.

What worked:

The Glock 19, obviously…pocket mag holders didn’t make my reloads any slower than most peoples, and they hide the extra mags well in office clothing, so I didn’t bother with belt mag holders.

The C-Tac was a lot less fragile than I thought it was (Good on you, comp-tac!), and stayed on the belt during the grappling with the C-Clips. I’d like to see the C-Clips having a bit more overbite to the belt to hold better, but as they stand now, they are usable.

What didn’t:

Some failures to fire with WWB ammo. Shocking…whatever.

Understanding the threat environment:
A core focus of ECQC is for someone to understand the threat environment, and to work within that environment to apply the skills they have to that environment, adapting those skills and learning new ones. Everyone in the class knew “how to shoot” but it was a different experience shooting from your back, at a moving, aggressive opponent who wanted to keep you from getting a shot off in the worst way.

Southnarc talks a lot about dealing with a “malevolent opposing will”…which sounds a lot like what happens when a guy on the street wants what you have, and had decided to get it from you no matter what.

All training in this class was in context for use by the students without the usual adaption of “Skill taught in a sterile environment -> Skill applied with a task overload”. In this class, task overload was factored into the learning.

When I speak of task overload, I am referring to the mental effort of managing a situation, interacting with other people, movement, keeping track of the environment, AND the developing tactical problem which may not yet allow you to shoot.

But then again, that’s what it’s like when you do encounter someone who may be hostile. He’s going to distract you, he’s going to approach you, and you are going to have to deal with the situation as it is, not how you want it to be.


This was not a self defense & the law class, so law really wasn’t a big part of the instruction, none-the-less, I’m a lawyer, so what would you expect? (YOU! I see the dead rat you are going to hurl. Can you please throw a bigger one? I’m hungry, and don’t really want to hunt. Thanks!)

This class is going to have a big impact on how I would handle a use of force case. It really drives home the visceral fear of being grounded, encountering multiples, and how fast things can go bad.

I “knew” (in as much as I can…) before, from how little I like being on the ground in a BJJ class, and how hard and hairy shooting from your back can be in a pistol class, but doing it while someone is actively trying to take your gun, knowing that if this goes bad, you are going to get shot…Whole new level of “Suck”, and that’s something I want to be able to convey to a prosecutor or a judge from first-hand experience should I need to in a defensive use of force case.

Being grounded IS that bad. Multiple opponents, even unarmed, ARE that dangerous. Talking about it from an intellectual standpoint is one thing, talking about it from the point of view of someone who’s had someone on top of him, holding him down, having his gun taken and hearing the “POP”…quite another.

It’s also given me more information on how people are justifiably shot in the back in violent encounters, the speed of movement and preemptive striking.

The standard for the use of force is the “Subjective / Objective Test” and within that standard, the “Ability – Opportunity – Intent” factors must also be considered.

We must make a reasonable decision regarding the use force, in a patently unreasonable situation, during interaction with unreasonable people...and we must act within to bounds of the law, while your opponent has no such restrictions. Further, it must be done at high speed, under great physical and mental stress, and done with regard for the safety of those around you who are not involved in your fight.

It’s a tall order. In one evolution, Southnarc took a round high-center chest. It would have been great marksmanship if he was an attacker…but considering he wasn’t involved in the scenario except as a bystander, the paperwork on that shot would be…um…Substantial.

It’s difficult, and needs to be learned not only from the lecture side, so one has the information to apply to the experience, but also from the experience/scenario side, so that one has the experience to apply the information learned in a classroom setting in real time.

Lecture and discussion alone are not, in my opinion, sufficient for someone to be able to say “Based on my training and experience, I judged the other person’s actions to be an imminent, unavoidable threat of death or grave harm to myself”.

The classroom lessons must be applied in situational training as realistically as can be done safely for the information to be adequately mastered for it to be useful.

Classroom based learning regarding self defense & the law is important, because how else would someone understand the standards by which they would be judged after the event, and the process by which that judgment would occur – but it should not be considered a stand-alone method learning.


I’m taking this class again. No question...and I'm looking into finding a nightmare of a building for the Armed Movement In Structures class for 2013.

Maybe a multi-story night club during day hours...
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Old 22 May 2012, 18:40
sabasarge sabasarge is offline
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Excellent AAR counselor, thank you.
I'd love to see a similar opportunity for this course way out here in the PNW
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Old 22 May 2012, 18:50
northwesttech northwesttech is offline
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Check out Grey Group website. I believe there are a couple classes in Portland/Estacada this summer.

Thanks for the AAR. I've heard nothing but good things about SouthNarc.
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Old 22 May 2012, 19:24
catfish catfish is offline
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Craig is an excellent instructor, a great dude and teaches critical skillsets with minimal flat-range bullshit.

Highly recommend attending his courses.
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Old 22 May 2012, 19:32
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Blackjack78 Blackjack78 is offline
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Great AAR Mitchell.
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Old 22 May 2012, 20:56
Dino0311 Dino0311 is offline
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That was a great AAR, thanks for posting it.
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Old 23 May 2012, 08:28
Mitchell, Esq. Mitchell, Esq. is offline
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Originally Posted by sabasarge View Post
Excellent AAR counselor, thank you.
I'd love to see a similar opportunity for this course way out here in the PNW
Host him.

That's what I did.

The pre-work was a bitch, but I'd do it again no questions.
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Old 24 May 2012, 08:08
drifter15s drifter15s is offline
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Excellent AAR between here and GOTX I expected nothing less as I awaited your review of the course.

ECQC has been high on my list for courses to take for awhile, it is just finding the time between R&R rotations to get something going.

Again, thanks for the review.
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Old 10 August 2012, 03:55
zushwa zushwa is offline
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Location: Virginia Beach, VA
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SouthNarc is my number 1 recommendation for anyone that carries a gun. Don't get me wrong, all the flat range and marksmanship is critical, but it's amazing tome how many people DON'T get this kind of training.
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