Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Contusions of Krav #3

Enter Ground Fighting.

I am not a ground fighter. Which stinks because a vast majority of fights end up on the ground. Depending on which statistic you believe, between 60% and 90% of fights end up there. I know that's a wide percentage but the truth of the matter is it's over half of the street fights. So, if you aren't learning ground fighting then there is a pretty big gap in your hand to hand defensive training. And when you are me, weigh less than 100 lbs and are small on the small scale, getting me to the ground is almost laughable in its ease (at least that's what the other students in Krav tell me).

Of course, the goal of self defense is not to turn into some Brazilian Jujitsu ground fighter, get on the ground and submit someone out. Real life ground fighting kind of sucks. You usually have hard surfaces, not cushy mats to protect things like knees, backs and heads. There are usually things to run into like walls, tables, chairs, cars, curbs and other people. There are things to roll onto or in, such as water puddles, broken bottles, you get the point. So the goal of self-defense related ground fighting is to get off the ground as soon as possible and/or do a lot of damage in order to make that escape possible. Then you just want to get the heck out of there.

Since we are compartmentalizing things in Krav we are starting our ground fighting already on the ground. Apparently in the next week or two we are going to start on our feet and work in a combination of everything we've learned to date such as striking, kicks, take-downs and ground fighting.

But it's very clear I need more work on my ground fighting.

I have a tendency to abandon all technique and go a little crazy when I feel something isn't working. Panic? Yes, please!

I'll be honest here. Ground fighting scares the crap out of me. I'm tiny and a goodly sized individual (male or female) could do a significant amount of damage by merely applying full body weight into sitting on me, never mind actually attempting to harm me.

Yesterday we were practicing a technique of escaping from someone on top of you. Playing the attacker I was on top of young man who proceeded to twist and slam me on the ground on my side. The impact knocked the wind out of the right side of my body and had he been more aggressive in attacking I would be in a very bad way fighting against both the pain in my body and the feeling of suffocating.

Then our instructor played attacker and worked with me as the victim for a time. Try though I may, I could not get him off me. Though I attempted to protect my head from his blows while I tried to buy time to think I still got a pretty good hit to my eye. Even if I could land some good blows of my own, I simply couldn't get enough distance to either get up or enough damage to get the attack to stop.

I was trying to have a little more control last night and not let myself escalate. Because when I escalate, people end up bleeding. Not necessarily a bad thing when in the fray, but not so good in training. Last time I fought my husband he was bleeding in a few places.

Unlike other class members my husband does not cut me much slack... AT ALL. When I fight him things escalate fast and if there were any kid gloves to begin with they get torn off pretty quick.

Our last fight ended with claw marks in his arm and chest a nice imprint of my teeth in his forearm and a few kicks to his head, a bloody nose and a pulled muscle in my shoulder that is still giving me fits. He won when he was choking me and my face was turning blue. He tells me I should have tapped out but I wasn't done fighting. I was left shaking for a good half hour afterward from the adrenaline dump and pissed off that I couldn't get him off of me despite the damage I did.

I gave it next to everything I had and I still ended up almost chocked out.

I'm told my potential is in my ability to escalate quickly with an excess of ferocity. I guess if we can combine that with more refined technique and perhaps some strength training I might gain some confidence in my ground fighting.

For now I'm going to continue to pray I never get taken to the ground in a fight which would be a statistical anomaly.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Let's All Just Calm Down And Eat Some Fruit

In this age of information it's easier than ever to get whipped into a frenzy over something important. It's also just as easy to get worked into a frenzy over nothing at all. In fact, that's what the mass media is really good at these days. In an effort to keep people glued to their 24/7 television news casters and reading their articles they have to make everything sensational, breaking, outrageous, awful, scary, tragic or a combination of the same. If they don't have anything to make sensational they will start speculating about what MIGHT become sensational.

And the internet fans the flames.

The Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut had an impact on the US different than any other shooting in the last decade. I don't know if it was the fact that it was children or that it was right before Christmas. Perhaps it was the fatigue, frustration and anger of yet ANOTHER US shooting. Perhaps it was the fact that the election was newly over and conservative and libertarian voters were still licking their wounds while the gloating moderates and liberals were feeling more confident and powerful. Maybe it was a combination of it all but the rush for gun control measures to be taken was staggering in it's ferocity.

We responsible gun owners were (and are) just as hurt and shocked and devastated by the shooting as any one else. I shed many tears over the children of Sandy Hook and the pain of the families I could barely imagine. I was disgusted and angry and feeling the grief of my friends and families.

And then that grief was stolen from me. Instead of being given that time to grieve and assess and think, I was bombarded by the hyperbole. I and many like me were assaulted with not only the call for more gun control measures but also the offensive idea that anyone for individual gun rights was somehow in favor of the murder of children. Like never before myself and others were finding themselves being viciously attacked for owning inanimate objects. And the media has done nothing but thrown fuel on that fire.

Those on the other side of the fight went from being hurt to angry and pointing that anger at us. We responded by trying to defend ourselves and tensions began to mount.

And mount they did.

Soon the president was making speeches and assembling task forces. People were screaming on television and radio shows. Calls for deportation. Conspiracy theories. Name calling. Websites created. Groups were meeting. Bills were being drawn up. Politicians were scheming. Guns and ammo started flying off of shelves like the last loaves of bread on grocery shelves in an apocalypse. People were making YouTube videos about killing people. Talk of executive orders and bans electrified every computer in the US.

And it all came to a pseudo head yesterday with the President's speech and executive orders on gun control.

I was not at home to listen to his speech. I had a choice of taking my kids to a story hour featuring stories and crafts of snowmen or staying in front of the television. I wasn't going to let any presidential speech or hyped-up fear about guns take the place of making time and enjoying it with my children. They are and forever will be more important to me than any possession and presidential speech.

I fully expected to get home, log into my email or facebook and see the thousands of outraged posts about how he tried some sort of extreme executive ordered ban.


Even though his speech had been concluded for some time by the time I got home there was not a single post on either my Facebook or my email in regards to what he said. They weren't even playing it on television news. That told me one thing: It wasn't nearly as bad as everyone predicted.

I had to go searching for his speech and when I found it and then found a list of his proposed executive orders and read them carefully I felt quite a bit of relief. Memorandums, letters to this or that agency, incentives to increase background checks. There was not a single item on the list that made me grind my teeth.

Then I went to some of the gun websites I frequent to see what some of the other people were saying about it.

I was more shocked about what was going on in the gun community than outside of it. The hyperbole was alive and well and instead of taking a second to breathe people were escalating. I can't even begin to list the ways in which people have been distorting what happened to make it far more panic-inducing than what it really was. And it continues.

I decided days ago to not borrow trouble from tomorrow. What will be will be. Panicking about it will help no one. Nor will it help our cause.

I think it is exceptionally prudent to be proactive, alert, vigilant and perhaps a bit suspicious. I know there are politicians who won't be happy until the entire US population is disarmed and I intent to continue fighting them. I have no delusions that it is getting better. It's not. It's bad and we still need to work and fight.

But I'm pretty sure it's time for the raving and fear-mongering on our part to settle a bit.

  • I have and will continue to write my representatives. 
  • I will share any information I find that is based in fact and relevant. 
  • I will join and donate money to groups that will fight the upcoming bills that are going to be introduced to Congress. 
  • I will communicate with anyone who has questions and if I don't have the answers I will attempt to direct him or her to someone who does. 
  • I will continue teaching firearms safety and attending firearms training. 
  • I will support any legislator who votes to oppose any assault weapons ban. 
  • I will watch the voting in Congress to help me better vote for representatives in the mid-term elections who are pro-second amendment. 
  • I will also attend meetings and peaceful demonstrations like those arranged for Jan the 19th at noon and Feb the 8th at 10am. 
  • I will continue to carry in accordance with my state's laws and encourage the cause of liberty, firearms and self defense.

  • I will NOT pass on conspiracy theories. 
  • I will not attempt to put words in any politician's mouth and presume he has said or done something that has not been said or done. 
  • I will not allow fear to overrun my common sense and reason. 
  • I will not encourage any kind of illegal action. I will not condone or partake in any talk of harming or wishing harm on any political figures, actors, actresses or public figures no matter how misguided they may be. 
  • I will not try to read into things, assume, over think or otherwise borrow trouble from the unknown. 
  • I will not attack those confused and misunderstanding individuals who come to me for information. 
  • I will not partake in the insults and cyber bullying that has gone on on both sides of the agenda. 
  • I will not flame, harass or "troll" any site or figure who I disagree with.

I am a responsible gun owner and a reasonable woman. I am a gun owner and a defender of the second amendment. I will not change my mind on that for many reasons. And I will fight for my right to keep and bear arms. But I will also not allow my priorities to be unduly skewed because of panic.

Monday, January 14, 2013

American History

In this time of political flux in the this country I've heard a lot of comments regarding our founding fathers and what they would do or think if they were here today. Both "sides of the aisle" (as it's popular to say) claim they would have the founding father's blessing in their actions.

I don't do politics. I am not a political person. I hate politics because they confuse me and because I can't get over the feeling that everyone in office is working far harder on deceiving me or at least hiding things from me than helping me. The inaccessibility of political figures makes it far worse. One cannot just go up to the white house, knock on the door and expect a sit down with the president or the vice president. The local level is not much better. Emails and letters are answered by impersonal form letters and aids if they are answered at all. The impersonal nature of politics breads distrust in me. And a relationship without trust is not successful.

There are also the scores of politicians who make no secret of the fact that they have an agenda despite what the people have expressed they want. Some have publicly said the Constitution stands in the way of things they would like to accomplish. That is alarming.

That is not to say that all politicians are bad. I know there are politicians out there who work tirelessly for the people and to defend their liberties. They are under-appreciated and deserve recognition for their effort in the fight to keep America true to itself. 

So when a politician says he believes he would have the backing of the founding fathers in their ideas for our country, how are you to know whether or not their claims are true?

I've chosen to start by finding out what the founding fathers had to say for themselves on issues.

In my recent quest to make up my own mind on certain topics I decided to start with the good, old-fashioned book, upgraded to the new e-reader addition.

I found myself on the Kindle Store downloading a dozen free books.

Common Sense by Thomas Paine

The Federalist Papers by Hamilton, Alexander, Jay, John, Madison, James

Even if you aren't interested in politics. These are good pieces to read if only for the purpose of learning about your own history and what the founding fathers wanted for this country and the struggles leading up to our declaration of independence and in forming a new, globally recognizable government. 

You may not think you are of a political mind or want anything to do with politics (like me) but as Hickok45 said, if you own a gun or you want to own a gun, you are involved. The first step to being involved is to be informed.

And don't forget the Jan 19 and Feb 8 State Capitol meets:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cold Weather Shooting

Yesterday, I was an assistant instructor for a basic pistol class. While the classroom was heated and comfortable the range was outdoors and we are in full-blown winter. It was twenty degrees and windy. Getting out of the wind was tolerable if you were stomping your feet and well dressed for the cold but standing in the wind was a bit like getting hit in the face with ice cubes. Any exposed skin immediately started to sting, turn red, tingle and finally go numb. Or, in the case of hands, induced incredible shaking.

We instructors did our best to put our backs to the wind and stand between it and our students to shield them at least a little bit but it wasn't much use. If you were on the firing line you were going to wish you weren't.

My first student on the line didn't have anything for his head more substantial than a baseball cap and he had no gloves. Before he shot he needed to show me that he could safely manipulate his firearm and then take the required number of shots. By the time he was half-way through the manual of arms his hands began to shake, badly. I let him put his hands back in his pockets for a few moments and we went through the shots as quickly as we could. He had to stop a few times to put his hands in his pockets or cover his ears and face. To say he was miserable would be an understatement. He did very well considering the circumstances.

My next student was better prepared with a hat and a hood and thick leather working gloves. He got to the line and picked up the gun to show me he could operate it safely and couldn't operate it at all with his gloves on. While his gloves were ideal for working in a field or digging a ditch, they were too thick and too big for use operating a firearm. He had to take them off to operate anything but the slide and, like the first student, as soon as his hands were exposed to such cold they began to tremble. He did an amazing job of shooting through the tremble, however, and got one of the best groups I've ever seen in a first timer, cold or not.

This pattern repeated itself over and over again. Those who had gloves had thick winter gloves or even mittens that they had to take off in order to shoot. Many of them couldn't fit their gloved finger into the trigger guard, especially on the smaller baby 9mms and .380s that are popular in concealed carry. Those who didn't have gloves were so cold they could barely feel their flesh or had trouble operating their firearms because their hands began to get stiff and unfeeling.

Despite it all, they did very well and I'd love to see them all back on a warmer day.

As for myself, the only gloves I had were the cheap, knit gloves you can buy a pair of at WalMart for $1.

While my hands were chilly they were not ice-cold. The gloves protected me from the biting cold wind, but were thin enough for me to operate every gun well enough to demonstrate and shoot.

As far as the students I worked with, there was only one other young man--an avid hunter with well fit hunting gloves and a full-size XD--who had no problems with gloves and operating his firearm.

I had learned long ago that if you are going to carry in cold weather you need to address shooting and how that cold is going to effect your hands and shooting ability. I have shot many times with hands so cold I could not feel them. If forced to shoot without gloves, it's nice to know that until frozen stiff, my hands will still work enough to shoot. But I've also tried other types of gloves to the point where I'm willing to suffer a little cold for thinner gloves that fit well enough to not impede my operation of the gun.

I know there are shooting gloves out there that are quite pricey that likely work very well for most. I've given up trying them. Mostly because I have extremely short fingers which leave excess material at the top of the fingers of most gloves that can impede my ability to operate a firearm well. But I can buy 10 pair of knit gloves for $5 and stick them in all of the pockets of every coat I own as well as my purse and the diaper bag. And if they tear or I need to rip them off and get rid of them there is no real loss. They may not have a lot of gripping surface but that is what texturing and cocking serrations are for. I trust those features on my firearms and they've not let me down yet.

Think about the cold but don't over think it, either. If you can find a good pair of gloves that fit you well to wear there is no bulk or excess material, they may be a good investment. Or, if you're like me, you can go cheap and stuff your pockets with cheap gloves that will be there when you need them but won't get in your way.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

XX weeks of holsters

About 2 years ago I posted a video titled "Holster Pick and Book Suggestion" seen here:

In it you can see just a few of my holsters. Some of them have been sold or traded and new ones have been added. Including holsters that I am going to review in the future.

Anyone who have watched my holster reviews know that I am as thorough as possible. Because of that I am very careful to wear the holsters I review. Some holsters I have reviewed I have loved from the onset. Some I have not liked so much. Either way, I make sure I carry the holsters for as much time as I can before I film any reviews. I don't, however, always stick with one holster only for that time. Sometimes I switch holsters a few times a day because I want to change into a different outfit or am doing something I want to go back to tried-and-true method of carry for.

But as I was going through my holsters early this year, I decided I want to see if I can commit to sticking with one holster for one consecutive week at a time and how many weeks it would take me to get through all of my holsters.

In some cases it might mean I have to carry a different firearm than usual and I'm also curious as to how that is going to change things as well.

I think it will be a fun experiment for me. I will not only be forced to revisit what I like about certain holster systems but perhaps what I dislike as well.

So now I have to come up with a set of rules for myself:

Of course, as stated, the goal is to carry a firearm in a different holster system every week until I have gone through every single holster in my collection (provided, of course, that I still have a gun to go in said holster).

Rule #1 would be obvious: I can't go back to my standard mode of OWB carry just because. An exception to that rule would be if I were required to carry a specific way for a class.

Anyone else have any other rules for me? Let's here 'em.

While you guys are coming up with rules, I'll start inventory on my holster so see just how many weeks I'm looking at. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Collaberation and the Gun Community

I have a confession to make: I am lousy at working with people on certain things and sometimes I can be downright socially dumb.

I plow forward in my efforts to make a point or figure something out and I don't always remember to recognize those around me who help me with everything from inspiring posts, question, to answering my own questions and even helping out with research. I don't even always remember to acknowledge the people who ask me for help.

Today, as I read A Girl And Her Gun's post on how little bickering and fighting for dominance there is in the female "gun community." She's very right. The female gun community has been a place of support and help from every side. And while I have been on the receiving end of such support I realized that I have done blessed little to show just how supportive I feel towards others. I realized that I wasn't even subscribed to many blogs I read or the FB pages of people I converse with regularly and feel very fortunate to have met, conversed with and greatly benefited from knowing.

I would very much like to rectify this and expand my horizons to include even more sources of people that I can get behind and support and encourage and learn from and pass their information on to you so we can all benefit from knowing them.

There have been some great people (men and women) who have supported me and I would like to thank them publicly:

Kathy Jackson, the author of Cornered Cat. She was the first resource I was directed to when I started out almost seven years ago.
Greg Ellifritz, author of Active Response Training. The man is not only a goldmine of information but a patient and interactive individual who's always promptly and thoroughly answered my questions.
The Staff and membership of Defensive Carry and their support, patience and acceptance of me when I was just a young'un starting out.
Dr Ruthless who's been happy to point me in directions for unarmed self defense resources for younger girls.

Holster makers such as UBG, Crossbreed, Looper Law Enforcement, Remora, Galco, have subjected their products to me for testing and review... some of them are still in the process of being picked apart as well.  

Last, but not least, my own husband, JD, author over at Guns, Guns and More Gosh Darned Guns. He is a resource that I would be dead in the water without. His organization, memory and patient understanding are impeccable and he has all of my respect and admiration not only as a wife but as an individual looking for straight talk about gun issues.

And of course there are all of those who come along for the ride. I'm glad you're here! 

I know there are far more out there as well who have helped and supported me that I'm overlooking and for that I apologize.

I'm really hoping that this year can be a year that I branch out and get over my one-track-mindedness and branch out to others, working with them to continue to drive the interests of learning self defense further than it could ever be with just me sitting at the helm.

Thank you all!!

Let's get to work making an exciting 2013.