Let’s Not Mince Words

I have recently been getting a few anonymous comments about my hand to hand/knife training.  I am not sure if it’s the same anonymous that is posting all the not so encouraging comments or not, but this is the latest one…

I was involved in martial arts for 30 years, boxed and placed twice in the police Olympics. Taught at a large police academy. The problem is disparity of force. No matter what you do unless you can get a advantage ( gun and a bit of distance vs knife or open hand) you will lose. My late wife was 5’4″ and 105. Do you really think she could fight a 200 lb in shape main with the element of surprise? I told my wife one think survive. She did this by her natural advantage. She was a runner, and I told her to run like Hell. Learn to fight and live another day. Too many instructors in Dojo’s etc have not spent any time “really doing it” in the Military or Police. Play the game with your rules not attackers.

I can not disagree more with this mindset.  I am not saying that there isn’t a time when running away might not be your best option.  Absolutely, run if you can.  That was my very first mistake. Had I hightailed it out of dodge then there wouldn’t be a blog for you all to be reading because the story would have ended there.  Run, run, run, but DO NOT EVER and I mean NEVER think you are out of the fight for any reason.

Here was my response to him…

I will not argue the merits of Arete’s skills and training, mostly because I don’t think he would want me to. It is not my place to say what he did or did not do, so out of respect for a relationship I value I will leave it at that. However, I will say two things about it. One, I have great respect for anyone who served honorably in defense of this country whether it be at home or abroad. Secondly, I will grant you that simply being an MP or a service member does not automatically qualify one to teach self defense or knife training, but it also does not automatically exclude one either. And one more because I can’t help myself…he was not an MP.

As for me, I train for a lot of reasons. The most important is for self defense. I have no idea what kind of situations I will find myself in and I most certainly will not leave it to odds to decide my fate for me. I have read story after story where the little “guy” who shouldn’t have won, won. I am not giving in and I train to gain any kind of advantage that I can, however remote.

I also train for mindset. The more I train the more confidence I gain, and the more confidence I gain the better equipped I will be to handle any of those bad guy situations I might find myself in. If I go down and I might, I am going down with a fight and a bloody bruised attacker left behind.

****Adding a comment here. This paragraph was not in my original response. If I am attacked and running isn’t an option, I do not care what his or their size is, I don’t care what kind of weapon they have, their crazy jacked up evilness will pale in comparison to mine and if need be I will fight to the fricken bloody end.  What is there to lose at that point?  Nothing and who knows, I just might win.  Story added from the Cornered Cat’s FB.  Look what we have here…surprise, disparity of force, no gun…no dead victim, well all be damned. Thank God she didn’t know she didn’t have a chance.

My Weekend

Oh my gosh where to start…The range that I train at and now work at is about an hour from my house, so Saturday morning I got up at 4:30am to leave by 5:30 to be at the range by 7:00.  I know I said an hours drive, but I did not want to be late.  I actually had a moment of panic because in all the times I have been to this place, I have never driven and I have never paid attention on how to get there.  It’s a bit remote and I didn’t want to rely on my GPS, so I  asked my husband to give me a brief directional refresher, but the Marine in him came out…a full recon exercise ensued.  He mapped it on the computer and showed me, he got out the actual map and traced the route with a pen, and he wrote me directions to include a map he drew, so there was pretty much no way I was getting lost. He takes good care of me.

My purpose for the weekend was mostly to attend the training, but also to do some work.  I got to put up targets, lots of targets.  For some reason I put up 8 targets with the plain white side facing out and the bad guy skeleton flat against the cardboard.  Not a very impressive first run out of the gate, but it is what it is.  I also got to hook-up a student with a loaner gun and gear for the weekend as he did not have his own.  I took pictures, I picked up lots of brass(so did everyone else), I picked up wet soggy, muddy trash left by the side of the road.  Pretty much anything John needed.  The class was small and as with every single training I have ever attended the people who I shot with were phenomenal.  They knew I was new and in training and they were extremely gracious as to let me work the line a little.  I did not do any actual instructing, of course, but John was there and he let me call a few cease fires and little things like that.

Being in an environment with all men for 2 days is interesting.  Sunday morning we are all standing around chit chatting waiting for 9:00am when we could start shooting and the guys are telling colorful, dirty jokes and cussing like sailors when I hear John yell “Hey, Bob(not his real name), say good morning to AGirl.”  I turn around and he is peeing.  He waves to me and I wave back.  I tell him it was good to see him again..all of him.  I then ask John when the sexual harassment brief will be starting and he said “You just had it.”  I turned around with a big ‘ol smile on my face, started loading my magazines and said, “My life is so different.”  It was fun being one of the “guys”.  I have never been one before.  Being men, gentleman really, some of them had a hard time not being gentlemen.  John asked me to grab a table from the classroom and bring it to him.  As I stood up, so did several of the guys and as I walked back with the table, one very nice man asked if he could help me.  I said “No, thank you. I have it”  I think it was wonderful that he asked(I teach my sons to do the same thing and my husband would have asked too) and if I was not working I probably would have said, Yes, thank you, but I wanted John to know he could count on me to actually work and plus, it was kind of cool to have a bunch of men sitting around doing nothing while I did some heavy(it wasn’t really heavy) lifting. It’s neat being a chic in a man’s world. Of course, these are cool men.  It would have sucked if they were assholes.

As for training this is what we did…we shot a lot from 25 yards.  This I hate.  I stink so bad.  There are no words to describe how bad I stink.  When I first starting shooting from 25 yards a few months ago I could not even hit a paper plate sized target.  Before this weekend I was able to do that, but that was it.  Could not hit where I was aiming to save my life, literally.  Saturday was the same way.  I hit the target, but there was no group to be found.

You can see I mostly hit the dude, but it was ugly. A bullet here and one way over there and perhaps a few straight into the berm.  Good stuff.  However, by Sunday I was able to hit kind of a group to the head area and I was thrilled.

I was at 25 yards, aiming for the head and as you can see 5 of the 5 shots were kind of close to said aiming point.

I also hit the steel plates from 50 yards.  3 shots standing, 3 shots kneeling and 3 shots in the prone.  There were 2 other shooters shooting at the same time as me, so I couldn’t tell if I hit anything, but assumed I hadn’t, until the guys told me I most certainly did, at least 3 times.  That was a win in my book as I have never even attempted to shoot anything from 50 yards.  I was shooting my Smith & Wesson M&P full size 9mm gun the whole weekend.

We rotated between drills that were close and fast and drills that were long and slow.  Lots and lots of scenario based shooting.  I love this abut John’s classes.  The have context.  Shooting to shoot is awesome and I love that, but for me adding the real life thinking process to it is really why I train.  So, we shot single moving targets and double moving targets.  Shooting a target while they are moving and you are moving, in the rain and mud is not as easy as one might think.  My first time through was not so great.  I had a lovely tight group, but unfortunately my group completely missed the bad guy.  Solid white.  I was not leading the shot.  I missed partly because its just hard to do and partly because John was yelling at me to NOT. CROSS. MY. LEGS as I moved.  The second time through I got several good hits on bad guy one and even more on bad guy 2.  Seriously, who does not think that sounds like crazy fun??!!

We shot scenarios where there were multiply assailants.  First time through we moved from left to right and I have to say I rocked that drill.  I was fast and accurate as all get it out.  Second time through, awesome! The third time we reversed the order and went from right to left.  This time I drew and had a dead on hit, but I backed up into the bad guy that was flanking me.  Not good. Would have been toast.

We shot drills from high cover, medium cover and low cover.  We shot simulating shooting a guy in the leg from under a car.  We actually shot a can of paint.  So fun.  I loved it because I shot twice then needed to change my magazine, so I rolled back behind the cover, reloaded and rolled back, right on target and shot a few more times.  Did I mention I had fun?

When it is time to top off magazines one thing we do is an admin reload.  I know most people probably know what this is, but for the newbies, I will explain. An admin reload is where you leave your gun holstered, but pop out the magazine and insert a new fully loaded mag.  That way you start the next drill completely ready to go.  I have been doing these since the first class I took with John a year ago.  Remember that complacency 45er was talking about.  Yep, I did an admin reload and forgot to insert a magazine, so first time up, I get off one well placed shot and then click.  No problem tap…nothing to tap.  Fine, I grab a mag from my right hip load, rack and shoot.  Dang that sucks, but I moved and handled the problem so good for me.  What was not so good was about an hour later, I did it again.  I shot one great shot, click. I realize this time right away I did it again. I am PISSED, so I reload and then pretty much unleashed my magazine on the guy.  When I get done John asks if I felt better and I did.  A little brag, every singe shot was dead on.  I was pissed, but I was controlled. No issues getting back on target between shots.

I had some equipment trouble.  I have a very high grip on the gun, but on my M&P the left sided slide release messes with my grip.  I tried adjusting to compensate, but I have been griping that way so long and am accurate with it that changing just isn’t an option. I am going to have that release removed.  My belt/ holster combo was not good either and it really effected my time.  I could not get under 2 seconds on the clock, but it was easy to see that my belt was too loose and there for it took more effort to get my gun out of the holster.  I am too tiny to get that belt tight enough.  I can fix that problem with minor adjustments and that should improve my time.  Oh, if you are new that means I stand there, John says something like, “He don’t look right.” I say “Stop, get back” or something to that effect, when I hear a beep, I draw and take 3 shots.  The beep is from a timer. He is timing the first shot to see how fast I or we can draw and get my/our first hit, with accuracy hopefully.  Everyone else made it under the 2 second mark.  It was pretty cool to see their times improve.

I could go on for another 100 paragraphs, but I won’t do that to you.  We did several other drills, watched some videos, did some classroom discussing and spent time getting to know each other.  My first goal was to learn.  I want to shoot better, faster, straighter and I want to change the way I think.  I don’t want to stop crossing my legs, but apparently that is not an option.  Secondly, I wanted to represent FPF Training well and thirdly I wanted to represent female shooters well.  I was by no means the best shooter there, but I think I held my own against the men. I pray that at least some of the men there left with a positive view of women shooters(not that they had a negative one to begin with)and hopefully I did not embarrass our gender(talking to the girls here:) in anyway.  Also, in case I forgot to mention it…I HAD A BLAST!

I Am Not Dead, But I Am In Heaven

Oh my, oh my, I love my life. I just got home from my first day working/training for John at FPF Training and what a day.

I was up at 4:30am and it’s now 7:30pm, so this will be short. I promise to tell you all everything on Monday, but I did want to let you know how it went today.

First, I was the only female on the range today. This was an advanced class for conceal carry and John said in his 8 year of running this business he has maybe had 3-4 women take the advance class. I am making it my mission to change that. Not only is it crazy fun, the class builds very important skills that women need to know. I am gonna to pimp here a little. Of the 8 students who took this class, 6 were returning students. Each of them had taken at least 2 other courses from John and most had taken 4 or 5. That is a pretty impressive return rate.

One of the men in today’s class was in the very first class I had ever taken with John back in March 2011. His name is Bill. He asked me if I was the same woman from that class and I said “Yes, I’ve improved a little, right?”. He said, “Well I don’t remember you being a poor shot(he didn’t really shoot next to me then), but you sure were scared.” I said, “Yes, I am over that.”. “Uh, yeah, I’d say” was his reply. I just smiled.

I was, big surprise, nervous. I was not nervous for the class. I am never nervous to train with my gun. I don’t care what anyone thinks and I know I am going to improve, but I did not want to embarrass John. I really didn’t want the first time I massively screwed up to be today. I did, of course, screw up, but not massively.

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT tell Arete this part of my day. At one point John is instructing and he says, “Gentleman, look at AGirl”(he used my real name, but you know). “A strong wind could blow her over.”

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to why? Yep, yep that’s it.  My legs were crossed. I knew it the second he said it, but I was good and I did not uncross them, so he could make his point. For the rest of the day, I would periodically see John cross his legs, which meant for me to uncross mine.

I spent the day shooting and learning so much about everything. I left there sunburned, bruised, covered in dirt and grass stains and soaking wet from a storm that blew in…again I say heaven.

I Needn’t Have Worried

Before I met with Arete, I was very nervous.  Not so much yesterday, but the weeks leading up to it.  There are a lot of reasons why, but mostly it was that I had no frame of reference for what we were going to do and even though I know him, I don’t know him.  We are still getting to know each other and since I have done nothing like this, I was uneasy.

I was fairly certain he wasn’t going to just walk up and punch me, but I had tried to make it clear that I was not looking for some girly class where he taught me how to blow a whistle and knee someone in the groin.  Perhaps effective.  Perhaps a useful tool and skill, but I am looking for something different. 

I was as worried about being coddled and I was about being hurt.

When I got to the park he showed me some knives.  Just to show me and we chit chatted a bit.  Then we walked over to an area less populated.  The place was packed.  Yesterday was mostly him showing me some basic moves, talking to me and I think him getting an idea of where I am at, which is about zero.

He talked to me about stance and much like shooting it focuses on balance and not being easily pushed back or pulled forward.  He showed me what happens if I stand with my legs crossed which is how I always stand.

One of the first things he said was punch me.

I said, “punch you?” 

“Yeah, punch me.”  I stood there.  He said “do you know how to punch?”  I really didn’t.  I have taken some “Fight Like A Girl” classes, but they were focused on fitness not fighting.  I can punch a bag ok, but I wasn’t sure I knew how to punch a person.  That was his first glimpse at my level…not very high.  So we did a little punching on a pad.  Fine.  Then he showed me some other things and we chatted some more.  He asks a lot of questions…if I do this then what happens?  What’s the first thing that happens in a fight?  Have you ever eaten a sandwich? I didn’t know many of the answers. Most of our conversations went like this.

A- If I grab your arm like this what happens?

Me- Blank stare. I don’t know.

A- Yes, you do.

Me. Umm, uh, I fall.

A-Yeah. Uncross your legs.  You don’t have good balance with your legs crossed. Ok, hit me.

Me- Hit you?

A- Yes.

I just stand there.  He has no pads of any kind.  He wants me to hit him in the chest.

A- Hit me

Me- I throw a punch…hit

A- That’s not a hit.  Your going to have to hit me. You can’t hurt me. Hit me. Uncross your legs.

Me- hit, hit

A- Next time if you don’t hit me, I am going to hit you.


A- Uncross your legs.

Yeah, I don’t think coddling is going to be a problem.

Now, I use caps to show that I hit harder the last time, but it was by no means a hard punch, however, apparently it was hard enough to keep me from getting hit.

It was extremely difficult on my mind to hit him.  I have never hit anyone in my life.  I don’t even spank my kids. I know I can’t hurt him.  That isn’t the issue.  It is the mental block of hitting.  This is why I need to train.  I literally forced myself not to freeze.  It was a conscious effort and it was a tough one.

When I first went to the shooting course with John and he would say shoot, many times I  just stood there.  Fortunately, John didn’t say if you don’t shoot next time, I am going to shoot you, but sometimes he would yell. My husband said that weekend one could visible see me fighting my mind. I struggled to get over my fear of shooting my gun.  John has a very good ability to know when to push and when not to.  There were times he would yell shoot and there were times he would get close in and talk me through it and there were times he and the whole class would stand back and let me work through it.  It is no exaggeration to say I would stand there with my gun pointed at the target for several minutes and not shoot.  Then take a shot and stand there again for 30 seconds or more.

My mind is all kinds of, I want say weak, but it’s not weak, it is, what is it..maybe, conditioned badly.

The difference between yesterday and my first Conceal Carry class was back then I was on the edge of quitting and crying the whole time.  Yesterday, I was not.  I never felt like crying and I never felt like quitting.

Arete explains everything he is doing and why.  He explains what vein is in that part of the leg, arm, hand.  He knows how many layers of skin or muscle lay on top of it.  He explains exactly what happens when said vein is punched, kicked, sliced.

We did a little walk through of my day in the parking lot.  He was the bad guy.  It was basic and it never got to the I am on the ground stage.  He asked me for my money and ironically, I wanted to say no, but the point was not what I would do now, but what I didn’t do then.  We had been doing a lot of grabbing of the wrist and how to get out of that and I wanted to know how I could have gotten out of it when the bad guy grabbed my wrist.

There are so many layers to that attack and so many ways I could have done things differently to have stopped it, from running back into the store(my car was far from the door, more isolated, but I saw him coming and I knew he was bad), to yelling(no one was there, but still), to saying NO, etc.  I know all that, but I want to deal with each part as it happened and know how to get out of that stage.  My goal would be to avoid it all together, but if someone gets their hand on my wrist again, I want to know how to get out.  If someone gets me to the ground, I want to have some idea of how to survive.  A more effective way than just squirming around.

I guess we were there a little over an hour and when we were done he gave me homework.  He told me the world is full of minors.  Meaning items in everyday life that show reflections.  Things I can use to see behind me like a car window or shadows. He talked about situational awareness and that when I go to, say the range I need to count the people in a room and find the exits.  I am suppose to be doing some knee striking exercise with a pillow.

Even though he threatened me with violence to get me to do what he wanted, he is very nice.  He asked me several times if I was ok, if I needed a break.  One time he made me take a break and drink water. He has a crawl, walk, run philosophy  We are currently at the crawl stage. I am not sure how quickly we move from crawl to run, but I am in no hurry.  There was a lot of information packed in that 65-70 minutes. A lot.  Even though I am still a little nervous I can’t wait to do it again.

Delusional Bravado

I have been watching a lot of shows on The Military History channel and I have been watching a lot of action movies. You know the kind with guns and knives and half naked chicks and everybody kicking the crap out of everybody else. The kind where everyone is all muscley and say things like “I ain’t got time to bleed” and “Only the hard and strong may call themselves Spartans.”

I have been loving pretty much everything I have seen. Unfortunately I think I somehow mistakenly began to think, not sure how, perhaps through osmosis that I am now a badass.

I can come up with no other reason why, when asked, “Do you want to knife fight/train with an former Marine sniper, current MAA fighter whose philosophy is: I only know how to train hard?” Did I respond with, “Sounds fun.”

What part of that sounded fun to me?? In retrospect, I probably should have thought that one through a little more, but hindsight being what it is and me meeting Arete in just a bit I guess it is too late to back out now.

Delusional grandeur aside, I am patently aware that I am not a mean motherf(you know the rest), but a girl can dream. What is it that they say, “Fake it til you make it”? Well, that is my plan. I am going to keep acting like I am tough until I either become tough or die trying.

Wish me luck!


I do not talk to much about politics or major gun issues on my blog because, well, I don’t have any credibility in that area.  Even if I have an opinion and even if I can articulate it, I don’t have much knowledge or experience to back it up, so I prefer to leave that to those who can like Tam, Weer’d, or pretty much anyone other than myself, but yesterday I got an email asking me to help get the word out on the debacle that is NBC.

I had not heard of the people sending the email and was not sure what to think, so I asked around and conversed a little with the woman who sent the email and since I do believe that what NBC appears to be doing is dangerous not only to our Second Amendment rights, but to our entire way of life, I decided that I would step out a little and post the link

Clearly, I do not have enough background to add any validity to Remington or this case, but I do think it is at least worth my tossing this out there for you all to decide for yourselves.


While we are at the beach I was inside cooking dinner when my family started yelling “Come here, Mo, come here.”  Of course, I ran outside and saw this…

E was trying to shoot into the little black circle on the hot tub mat.  She says she wants to be an expert shooter like mom.  Isn’t it nice when kids still look up to their parents based on love and not so much talent.

Again, today I am in the kitchen when I hear, “You have to come here and see your daughter.”  I did and this is what I saw…

I have never talked to her about knife fighting, so I am not exactly sure where this came from, but I am kind of thinking I don’t need Arete with her around.

Step One

Last night I got an email from Mrs. Groundhog.  She won $300 in our first Give-A-Way and she decided to use the money to attend 3 courses.  The first one was this last Saturday.  This is what she had to say with some minor editing for clarification from me…

I took my first training class on Saturday and it was wonderful.  We were supposed to be at class at 7:45 and it was a 2 hour drive to get to class. We made it a few minutes late but all was well.  There were 12 in the class with 4 instructors.  We had a couple of hours of classroom instruction before going to the range.  Groundhog(the hubby) even said he  learned some new stuff and he has been shooting for years.  Then out to the range.  I have some bad habits that I needed to change.  I flinch which my husband has told me about many times.  They kept trying to correct my stance since I stand strange.  Unfortunately, when I stand correctly it hurts my bad knee.  They showed me how to adapt how I was standing so it is more effective without being painful.  And most importantly, they told me what we had suspected for a long time, my beloved Glock 17 is too big for my hand and that I need a new pistol.  Neither Groundhog nor I had ever been taught how to appropriately fit a gun so now we know what to look for.  For the class, I borrowed one of theirs, a Springfield 1911.  They recommended that I try the brand new Smith and Wesson Shield.  They said I might need to go down to a 380 to get the best fit for my hand. I want to get the new pistol before I take the next class; just doesn’t make sense to do otherwise.  It will probably be sometime this summer before I can go back.  ( With the contest money, I will be able to take 3, 4 hours classes. They recommend you take a class, practice those skills and then come back later for the next class.)

Is anyone else crazy excited????  I am about to burst out of my skin with joy!  We helped get her on her way and look how much valuable information she gained in just one class and she has 2 more to go!!!  Of course, the real credit goes to her for taking the initiative to get training.  So, so proud of you Mrs. Groundhog!!  You are doing superb!!!

A New Adventure

A week or so ago John asked me if I would be interested in coming to work for him.  The job description went something like this: Low pay, lots of misery.  Heavy commitment.   I don’t know about you guys, but for some reason I read that and thought…PERFECT!!

We talked back and forth for a while and still do not have all the details worked out, but basically I am going to help him in anyway I can: web site, publicity, that kind of thing.  I also will helping out with his classes by helping him set up, switching out targets, etc.

Clearly this is an amazing opportunity for me because I get to be around guns, I get to learn from someone I greatly admire, I get to help someone who has helped me tremendously and I get a few bucks to put into my ammo fund or perhaps an AR someday or if I don’t screw it up and he keeps me on, maybe both! There is no chance I am going to screw it up, but that was kind of funny.

There will be a lot of new and exciting things happening for FPF Training in the next few months and I am thrilled to be a tiny part of it.  Of course, I am going to be an endless advocate telling you countless times that you should really consider taking a class from John, but that is nothing new.  I have been doing that since day one the only difference is now I get a few dollars to do so.  I think it’s a win-win. Probably more win for me, but if you actually take a course you will see that you are the one that will come out on top.

This weekend will be my first official time helping out at the range, but the class is small and there isn’t a ton for me to do yet because I still have so much to learn, which means I will also be able to participate in the training.  I think I might have mentioned a time or two or twenty that I love to train.

Bought my first pair of 5.11 tactical pants for the occasion

It is a very exciting time!

Feeling extremely blessed at all the wonder opportunities that have come my way.  Not sure I deserve them, but I darn well know I am gonna appreciate them and do whatever I can to earn them.

A Tiny Change

At the suggestion of a friend, I decided to change the picture at the top of the blog from my Glock to my new everyday carry, the M&P.

He also suggested that maybe I take the picture with the slide closed.  When he said that I had to laugh because, of course, I would not take a picture with the magazine out, slide open now, but back then I was terrified of my gun.  I was terrified of making a mistake. I thought if my gun was not on me then it had to be empty with the slide open.  I still store my guns without a magazine inserted and the slide open, but not my carry gun.  Actually at the time I took the picture of the Glock, I probably wasn’t even carrying with one in the chamber.  Silly girl.

Anywho, there you have it…my everyday carry set up.  Actually, I go back and forth pretty regularly between my The Holster Site holster and my Remora, but I am vain and I really like the “AGirl” wording, so I chose that holster for the picture.