Sunday, November 22, 2015


"Education is missing from firearms training." And so it began. It has taken me about a month to digest the experience that was the Combat Focus Shooting Instructor Development Course. I first discovered Combat Focus Shooting through some DVD's I got from the NRA. As I watched them over an over, through days and months, I slowly developed a goal. I was going to learn how to teach this program. A defensive firearms program that wasn't based on perfect scenarios or the myth of hyper awareness. This program was based on psychology,physiology,reason, logic and empirical evidence.

Initially I took every class I could that I.C.E Training Company offered. Fundamentals of Combat Focus Shooting,Combat Focus Shooting, Fundamentals Of Advanced Pistol Handling, Combat Focus Carbine and the Defensive Firearms Coaches Course. I always had my eye on the end goal of becoming a certified Combat Focus Shooting Instructor. Eventually the opportunity came my way at the Rice County MN Law Enforcement Center. This is where Omari Broussard Chief Operating Officer of I.C.E. Training Company would be conducting a Combat Focus Shooting Instructor Development Course. So I took some vacation and drove up to Minnesota with my friend Ernie who would also be attending the 5 day CFSID.

 Day 1-
Started off with an Introduction to CFS. We talked about goals, How efficiency could be measured with time,effort and energy. We discussed how things should be observable,measurable and repeatable. The evolution of CFS and how to train in context.  Concepts vs details, effectiveness vs efficiency, consistency. We talked about the plausibility principle and adult learning models. Training attitudes were defined, the skill development cycle was discussed. We talked about safety,comfort and competency in depth, professionalism and instructor attributes. After that first day we went back to the hotel with some homework and a full noggin. Realizing that everything was testable the studying commenced straight away.

Day 2-
Was another day heavy on concept and theory. We talked extensively about the body's natural reactions. We discussed the physiology of the body. My paramedic background really helped me out in this area. It was on this day we also started to move from the theoretical to the practical. We covered combat accuracy and combat efficiency. The balance of speed and precision was introduced as a key concept. We spent a good part of the day on the range running each other through the high compressed ready, trigger control, stance, grip , extend,touch,press, presentation from the holster, single shot up and multiple shot up drills. Day 2 ended with more homework and teach back assignments for day 3.

 After we all completed our teach backs it was back on the range. Balance of speed and precision,lateral movement,multi target engagement, critical incident reload, figure 8 drill, take a lap drill,dynamic deviation control,cognitive drill concept, and non diagnostic linear malfunctions were all covered in depth. We learned, discussed and then taught these drills to each other. Day 3 ended with more teach back assignments for day 4.
Day 4-
More teach backs, then to the range. Review of take a lap drill and presentation from the holster. Then we covered the spin drill, the wind sprint drill, shooting in motion, volume of fire and the chart of doom. At the end of the day we went back to the classroom for a 2 hour block of instruction on how to market your firearms training business. Then back to the hotel to study some more. Day 5 was test day.

Test day. We started the day with the written test. This was a fill in the blank test going over everything we had learned in the previous 4 days. A score of 90% was required to successfully pass. I honestly forget how many questions there were but I think it was around 50. Then Omari, our lead instructor, handed out random note cards. On these cards were a concept or a drill we would be required to teach to the group and be graded on. Each of us got 4, usually 2 concepts and 2 drills. In addition each of us would have to teach/demonstrate a critical incident reload. These graded evolutions took up the rest of that day, as we took turns teaching and being students. All under the watchful eye of our primary instructor. Then it was done. We wouldn't know if we passed until all the tests were graded and the subjective teaching tests were examined. Ernie and I had some great conversation full of ideas and plans on the way back to Iowa.

I found out I became "certified" meaning I had passed the course a few days later. Currently I m working on becoming "active". This step involves co-teaching a CFS course with a senior CFS instructor. As there are only 5 designated senior instructors nationwide this will require some coordination. One thing I like and has drawn me to CFS and I.C.E Training is that they hold the standard. Less than 50% of those that attempt CFSID ever become active. I.C.E. Training doesn't care. The standard is the standard although they do allow people to retest for free if necessary after a cool off period. I have been deliberately vague about a lot of the course. If you want more indepth  information you can pay for it and strap on your thinking hat like I had to. I would definitely recommend you become a I.C.E Defensive Firearms Coach before attempting CFSID, it helped me a lot. I am very excited to grow my firearms training business. Check me out at or @eighteenzulu on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, November 9, 2015

9 to 5 Adventure Race

So my buddy Rob asked me a few months ago if I wanted to do an adventure race with him as a 2 man team. I had always wanted to do one so I said sure. This particular race was a beginner level 8 hour race that was in a county park about 2 hours from my house. I didn't prep much for it, actually I didn't prep for it at all other than getting my mountain bike tuned up prior to race day and packing the mandatory gear. On the day of the race I woke up at about 0400 and drove to Rob's house and we left at about 0500 for the 0700 packet pickup. Race was to start at 0900 but we wanted to get there and check out the map and plot the course etc. This race was to be a combination of Trek/Orienteering, Mountain Bike and Canoe. Distance and course was unknown until you showed up.

When we did show up we got our race packets, which had our maps in it and checkpoints. We learned there were 30 check points split between 2 trekking/orienteering, 2 bike and 1 canoe leg. Rob had spent a lot of time outdoors but he designated me as the navigator. So why he was pumping up bike tires and getting gear ready I plotted all 30 points on our maps. Although I was pretty confident in my navigation skill, it is perishable, and the civilian map system and 1:24,000 and 1:15,000 scale befuddled me for a minute until I figured it out.

Our required gear such as space blanket,fleece,compass,water,food,headlamp,waterproof jacket,fire starter,bike inner tube,patch repair kit probably weighed about 15 lbs. I had mine packed in a Camelbak Mule pack I had left over from my military days. Once it got close to start time the Race Director gave a short speech and handed out our "passports". These were the cards on which we would punch each check point when we go to them. Most of the check points were marked with orange and white squares but some had no markings. On our coordinate sheets were clues such as kiosk or reentrant ( civilian for draw.. Who knew?) for each checkpoint. The national anthem was played on a loud speaker and we were off. A lot of people started running but we were in it for the whole day so we just started walking. I was just getting my navigation legs back trying out my new compass and this civilian navigation technique. The first section had 4 checkpoints. It took us much longer than it should have for a few reasons. One was  the distances were much shorter than I thought, we actually walked by a few points because I thought we had to go farther. Also I had misplotted a point and we had to go back and find it after walking right by it. Anyway we eventually got all 4 points and we hit the mountain bikes.

The first mountain bike leg was pretty easy. Hit 3 points on the way and it was all road so we made pretty short work of it. I guess it was about 6 miles. The we rolled into the second trekking leg at another park. It looked like much rougher terrain and honestly I was a little worried about my rusty navigation skills. But I decided to say fuck the compass techniques and use good old attack points and terrain association just like the old days. This technique worked pretty good as I would get a general azimuth and just terrain associate until I figured we were close then we would just start looking. We only had to backtrack once and made some good time on this section hitting all points. When we got back to our bikes we had been moving about 4 hours. So we stopped for a little chow out of our packs. We also had to participate in a challenge which included water balloons and a sling shot in a closest to the pin scenario. Once we were done we got back on the bikes for the second leg. This bike leg was a little harder as it was longer, probably about 10 miles and also straight into a head wind. We had to find 5 points, some on the highway and some on a mountain bike trail. This leg probably took the longest just because of the distance. Once we got back to the start/finish/transition area 3 we had to get our flotation devices and paddles and head for the canoe. This is where our race went south for a bit. As we were shoving off someone flipped our canoe and we both fell into the lake up to our eyeballs. Rob said it was me but I cannot confirm or deny this rumor.Anyway we took a minute to change into what dry clothes we had and pushed off again. The wind affected our speed on the way out. Also my lack of efficient paddling. Anyway we snagged 2 out of the 3 points on this leg and decided discretion was the better part of valor and we headed back for the last trekking leg.

 We picked up the map for our last leg and we had about 2 hours 15 minutes before the time cutoff. We had 6 points left to get. So we started out. I didn't even plot an azimuth we just shot it with the compass and headed out. We managed to pick up 2 more points before we figured we should head back because of time. We blew off the 2 farthest points and grabbed the 2 closest to the finish in 7:32 with 26 out of 30 possible points cleared. Not bad for two cherry racers.

 I had a lot of fun at this race. It was a good workout and a blast even falling in the lake. I brushed off my rusty navigation skills and I plan on doing another one in the spring.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Marine Corp Marathon: 40th Edition

This past weekend I ran the Marine Corp Marathon with a friend of mine. It was his first marathon and we had a great time. The wife and I saw some sights and had some laughs. It was my 35th race of marathon distance or greater and the largest race I have ever participated in with 45,000 runners. We finished at the base of the Marine Corp Memorial in 6:55:08.