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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    293

    Default AAR: Pistol Groundfighting, 02/08-09/2020; Woodinville WA

    Sitting with my espresso in the Alaska Airlines Lounge at SeaTac waiting for my flight home back behind enemy lines in the SF Bay Area, and reflecting on the last 2 days of the “Pistol Groundfighting” class I completed with Brent Yamamoto. 



    Executive Summary: An outstanding class, taught with complete and total mastery and professionalism. If you carry a concealed firearm, professionally or by choice as a responsible Citizen, this class is an absolute must. Once you’ve developed your basic CCW skill-set, “Killing Within the Law”, “Force on Force,” and “Pistol Groundfighting” might be the true Holy Trinity of real GunFIGHTER training.



    Day 1:
    


    I arrived at Brent’s Dojo in Woodinville, WA., Northwest Martial Arts. Clean, spare, business-like. No strip-mall frilly motivational posters, no rainbow of belts on display. Far more Shugyo and Keiko than sugar and kids-karate-kamp.
The Suarez Triquetra featured front and center.



    The students met and made their introductions. A few active Law Enforcement, some with former military service domestic and foreign, some “regular” citizens; and me the over 50, long-haired retired cop from the Heart of Enemy Territory, the SF Bay Area. All look fit. All look serious about their training. All seem friendly and open to learn. 



    After the waivers signed, Dojo etiquette explained, gear sorted and a series of very thorough safety checks, Brent introduced us to fellow instructor/proctors and cinematographers Ted Demosthenes and Papa. (Great to finally meet a couple of the true WT Sages in person.)

    Brent began with a brief lecture on concepts and principles, with excellent input from Ted and Papa.

Then onto the mats. Brent took us through a thorough warm-up, and right into drills. Brent’s training outline was extremely well-prepared; starting with some basics of movement and positioning on the ground, using/creating weight, falling/rolling, etc. Then into the basics of positions, passing/transitioning and concepts of body weapons/striking on the ground.

    
After a break we discussed “the real/dirty stuff” like biting, eye-gouging, ear-avulsions, hair-pulling, and everything else that you SHOULD be training in real, for-your-life fighting. Students paired off and began grappling/sparring with these concepts in mind. Brent, Ted, and Papa did an excellent job in keeping it from getting out of hand while allowing exploration of “reality” vs “MMA/Sport.“

    Lunch was short and on-site. Bring your own and be self-sufficient. You do not want to be late and miss anything. (I went with Keto-Paleo meat and greens from Whole Foods. As Gabe has posted before, “Don’t let the old man in!)



    After lunch Brent presented a short lecture on the effectiveness of various techniques and concepts and their effectiveness in a fight for your life. We spent some time working with some basic joint-locks, control holds, and pressure points, then experimented with incorporating them into the fight as extra tools that could be used to gain time and space. 



    Then he had us gear up and after a series of safety checks, introduced the pistol, knives, and any other weapons that could be incorporated into the groundfight. Specific techniques to draw, utilize, and retain these weapons in a groundfight were discussed, practiced, and trained; with real-world input from Papa and myself as a retired LE/SWAT-Firearms/DefTac Instructor/Training Officer. 


    We then moved into more “free-bout” grappling/sparring with focus on bringing the weapon into the fight and employing it successfully, with direction and coaching from Brent and 2 of his senior black-belts; Jeff The Omnipresent Octopus and Chris the Iron Claw. 

During breaks in the grappling/sparring session, we worked on techniques to clear malfunctions while still defending and fighting for position.

    
By the afternoon, we were getting tired, (and bruised and a bit battered), but everyone stayed in the fight. Brent used me a lot as “Mr Uke” in front of the class which I took as an amazing honor, but definitely earned me a few extra bruises and “batters.”

Day ended with a quick summary, injury check, and handshakes/hugs all around.



    
Day 2:



    Brent, Ted, and Papa again made sure all gear was sorted and after the very thorough safety checks, it was back on the mats. Jeff was also there for coaching, smothering, humbling, etc.

Brent worked us through more “open bouts” of grappling, with defined “good-guys” and “bad-guys”, further emphasizing and coaching us through using our weapons to end the fight. 



    We then moved into some more directed training of specific techniques for escaping chokes, passing the guard, and using certain weapons in specific ways to create greatest effect. We also trained in some simple but effective weapons retention and recovery techniques.

More open grappling to practice and reinforce the above. More opportunities for me to roll with Brent and Jeff. More opportunities to transform pain and discomfort into knowledge and experience.



    Lunch same as Day 1.

After lunch, Brent worked the class through the very basics of the Diagonal Lines Kata, with Papa and I assisting and role playing Bad-Guys.



    After which he walked us through the Changing Levels Kata, and discussed the why and how of the Suarez Kata development.

With these in mind, we spent some time on falling/rolling with our weapons, engaging non-entangled targets from various positions on the ground, and fighting to standing/movement off line.



    The day ended with more “open sparring” grappling sessions, and lots of rolling with Brent and Jeff.

Day 2 ended as Day 1, but with more respectful, grateful “Standing Warrior Clinches” (AKA hugs) than handshakes.


    
Final Points: 



    Brent Yamamoto is an absolute master instructor. His ability to effectively communicate and illustrate very physical and demanding techniques and principles, and then demonstrate them in a way that people from different backgrounds and experience can understand is exceptional. His seemingly limitless energy and desire to give and give and give to his students is truly remarkable. I have been training for 25+ years as student and Instructor in this realm, with LE and at many of the well-known schools with lots of former Alpha-Delta-Special-6 Instructors. True teachers like Brent are rare. (The exception to this rule, for me at least, has been the Suarez International cadre. I have trained with Gabe, Brent, Greg as primaries before, and now Ted and Papa as well. And the above applies to them as well.)



    As to safety with firearms, knives, and other weapons being used on the mats, It should be noted that the Instructors and students were very thorough, constant, and consistent in their safety checks and gear inspections. Never once did I feel unsafe on the mats and in the grapple. And yet it was in no way overbearing or nanny-ish.

    
I have to sincerely compliment and thank ALL the students as they were all excellent training partners. They were fit. They were committed. They listened and applied. They fought HARD, but never with ego or in a way that prevented learning. 



    There seems to be a true Fellowship among those who train with SI. A real Tribe of Warriors, who may be separated by geography but not by philosophy and desire to become Righteous Guardian Killers. Truly, truly grateful to all of you.




    Lastly, this is a very intensive physical training. Even the most fit of us in the class were exhausted and already getting sore by the end of each day. As such it might not be within everyone’s capabilities due to injuries, infirmaries and such. 



    But if it is, do not allow your ego and fear to prevent you from attending this class. You cannot call your yourself a complete gunfighter without it.







    VIRES HONOR VIRTUS FIDES

    Complete Pistol Gunfighter
    Force on Force
    Killing within the Law
    Pistol Groundfighting

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Western WA
    Posts
    5,827
    Marco, thank you for the kind words and the EXCELLENT AAR. (Side note - we instructors always draft an AAR for HQ...yours was MUCH more complete than mine!).

    I have taught the class a little differently each time I’ve done it. Sometimes more technical, sometimes less. This one was probably the least technical but in some ways the most successful (and I think they have all been good). More play and less instruction. We covered less stuff perhaps but did more overall.

    A successful class requires good students. I couldn’t have asked for a better group... Everyone came ready to train. Everyone was engaged and brought the perfect balance of intensity and attention to safety. This was also an exceptionally fit class, that definitely helps!

    PGF consistently seems to attract students with phenomenal mindsets, attitudes, abilities and fighting spirit. Every time I have done it I have been incredibly pleased with students performance, effort and most of all their ability and willingness to be great training partners; intense but always safe. Always a handshake and a “good job, thank you!”, seconds after they were just at each other’s throats. I have been inspired by students in PGF, and this class was no exception. You guys were awesome!

    Special thanks to both Ted and Papa for their assistance...safety officers, videographers, color commentary, and most especially the voices of wisdom and experience. It’s an honor to have you on the mat and the class would not have been the same without you!

    And thanks as always to my dojo team. You know who you are, you know what you bring, and you know how I appreciate it. OSS!
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Close Range Gunfighting 3, Oregon
    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Western WA
    Posts
    5,827
    Another thing...

    This class was filled with FIGHTERS. Martial backgrounds differed but everyone came ready to BRING IT. And just as impressively they could turn it off after the drill was done. This was an exceptionally mature group. I know we are all sore today, but no injuries beyond bumps and bruises. Ok, maybe some sore joints but but those were already there. ;)

    One comment that struck home: “I can still do everything I could at 30, but it costs more!” Very true...and yet we still don’t let the old man in!

    And...
    Marco is one scary bastard. Big, strong, mean, and just as skilled with his hands as with a gun.
    In my mind there’s an all star team of guys I have trained with, guys I’d want with me when shit hits the fan. He’s one of them.
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Close Range Gunfighting 3, Oregon
    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SWFL
    Posts
    740
    Excellent! I'm looking forward to the class at the end of the month.
    KRG-1: Kalashnikov Rifle Gunfighting
    HRO-5: Terrorist and Active Shooter Interdiction
    CRG-4: Force On Force Gunfighting
    CRG-5: Zero To Five Feet Gunfighting
    Red Dot Combat Pistol School
    HRO-6/HRO-7: CQB-Fighting in Structures/Team Tactics, Urban Warfare Weekend
    Pistol Ground Fighting

    TWOTU since 2016

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    653
    Quote Originally Posted by Brightlightman View Post
    Excellent! I'm looking forward to the class at the end of the month.
    You and me both!
    Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong. Your every action must be done with love.

    “Adversity introduces a man to himself.”

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    AGL (Above Ground Level)
    Posts
    281
    Great write-up! Thanks for rubbing in what I missed! =P Haha
    Check 6,
    Air Pirate out.
    tw/ig: @SoCalAirPirate

    "Real freedom lies in wildness, not in civilization."
    -Charles Lindbergh

    "The skies are lovely, dark, and deep,
    but I have promises to keep,
    and miles to fly before I sleep..."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    3,556
    Thanks to Brent for letting me hang around. Strange not to be actively grappling this time. I had to be content with a little knife work.

    But it was gratifying to see these FIGHTERS going and growing in knowledge and skill over the course of the two days.

    I need to point out that the Tasmanian Devil video of Brent and Papa going at it from two years ago was literally the last bout at the end of that class. This year I saw the equivalent at the end of the first day, reflecting not only the guts and skill of these students but, more importantly, the increasing refinement of material and quality of instruction.

    Take this class. It gets better every time it's offered, and it was damned good to begin with.

    P.S. Brent is spot on about brother Marco: tough and tireless, and no one you'd care to f*** with.
    Last edited by Papa; 02-10-2020 at 09:05 PM.
    Warrior for the working day.

    Es una cosa muy seria. --Robert Capa

    "...I ride the range in a Ford V8...Yippy Yi Yo Ki Yay." --Johnny Mercer

    "What cannot be remedied must be endured."

    250. And a wakeup.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Western WA
    Posts
    5,827
    Quote Originally Posted by Papa View Post
    P.S. Brent is spot on about brother Marco: tough and tireless, and no one you'd care to f*** with.
    Truth.

    Ha! At one point when we were rolling he totally GROWLED at me. I loved it.

    Sometimes you know a growl is just sound. Other times you know there are sharp teeth behind it. Willing, able, and
    hungry.

    C0F76067-0E57-4003-BBB1-D1928F7FDC61.jpg
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Close Range Gunfighting 3, Oregon
    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    9,954
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Yamamoto View Post
    Truth.

    Ha! At one point when we were rolling he totally GROWLED at me. I loved it.

    Sometimes you know a growl is just sound. Other times you know there are sharp teeth behind it. Willing, able, and
    hungry.
    Girr baby... very girrrr.
    Greg "Hyena" Nichols
    Instagram: tacfit_az
    Facebook: SI Instructor Greg Nichols

    #thinkinginviolence
    #tactisexual

    Always entertaining, mildly offensive
    IANative: Indeed, when you grab Brent (or he grabs you), it feels like liquid unobtanium wrapped in rawhide... whereas Greg is just solid muscle wrapped in hate, seasoned w/ snuff and a little lead.

    http://www.warriortalk.com/showthrea...he-Obscenities

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    293
    Thanks Brent and Papa for the compliments. I do try, and being around this crew of Merry Meat-Eaters is inspirational to say the least...

    As to the growl, that was more venting a bit of frustration after eating 2-3 of your punches to my head as well as an audible cue for myself to get focused and get shooty-stabby.

    Again, excellent training. As all my SI experiences have been.
    VIRES HONOR VIRTUS FIDES

    Complete Pistol Gunfighter
    Force on Force
    Killing within the Law
    Pistol Groundfighting

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