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Paul Gomez
10-16-2003, 09:25 PM
This one is from a TDI Level IV & V Handgun class that ANdy Stanford & I took this June.

Better late than never, I guess. It's been almost two months since I had the opportunity to travel into the wilds of Ohio to spend four days at John Benner's unique training facility and I haven't gotten around to posting anything meaningful about the ocassion.

To start with, Benner's place sits on 168 acres! When he was giving me the grand tour, he pointed to a mountain range in the distance to the north and identified that as the northern property boundary. Following that range to the east was another mountain. The eastern boundary was actually the valley on the other side of that mountain range. Simply breathtaking, particularly to someone born and bred in Louisiana where we have exactly one point in the state that qualifies as a "mountain" and does so by less than 20 feet!

[All mention of directions are notional, as my sense of direction tends to rival that of most 2LTs.]

Andy Stanford and I were there for two 2-day classes, Level IV Handgun and Level V Handgun. A couple of times a year TDI will offer two classes back-to-back in a four day block. This is very convienent for those who are travelling considerable distances to get to school.

Day One began in the classroom with a brief overview & obligatory paperwork. We were on the range within the first hour. Each day began with "Timing In" and ended with "Timing Out". This consisted of one shooter at a time firing one shot, starting from chest ready, on steel and then a run of one shot on each of three plates.
After "timing in", the class would warm up on steel shooting various drills. Next we were broken into smaller groups to cover specific topics such as building search procedures, interacting with compliant and noncompliant persons, lowlight concerns & techniques, etc, etc.

One of my favorite training blocks dealt with extreme close quarter interaction. TDI instructors teach and utilize a very interesting Silat-based unarmed program entitled Close Quarters Personal Control.
The primary entry demonstrated was similar to what some board members may be familiar with as Tony Blauer's Spear or Scott Sonnon's Wedge, with some notable exceptions. TDI teaches to grasp the throat with the inside hand while striking to the shoulder with the outside hand and tracing the outside hand down the limb to the hand to either trap the weapon on the waist band or to extend the arm out and away from the defender.

It's impossible for me to recall the names of all of the TDI instructors that I had positive interactions with over the four days, but I would be remiss if I did not identify some who stood out especially. Greg Ellifritz, who cornered me in the barn demanding feedback regarding the course. David Bowie, who in addition to being a highly competant instructor is also a very accomplished gunsmith dealing, primarily, with texturing and modifying polymer framed pistols. And, of course, John Benner who's open and sincere attitude permeated the entire facility.

Every one of the TDI instructors were engaging, competant and truly interested in garnering feedback from the students. Training at TDI was a very worthwhile endeavor and I planning to return next year for at least CQPC and hopefully for EXC as well.


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