Friday, 22 April 2016

Warzone 4: Active Shooter

Stratford upon Avon High School
Saturday 9th April 2016

By Lance Manley

Until I began doing Krav Maga my own experience of self defence and guns was limited to the Christian Bale movie 'Equilibrium' (which I recommend you watch, it's ace). Having seen KMM's Warzone 2 just over a year ago I was keen to see what number 4 had to offer.

The emphasis this time was not so much on gun threats but the far more dangerous prospect of an active shooter. Recent terrorist attacks such as the ones in Paris have shown that killers with guns can sometimes be organised and highly trained, a very frightening vision.

Chief Instructor Bartosz (E2), accompanied by Russell Brotherston (G5) led the seminar. 29 students had applied to attend with practitioners coming not only from KMM but from Total Krav Maga and also the Krav Maga Defence Academy.

The initial talk was a common sense introduction to the reality of facing or being involved in a situation where someone is firing a gun at you. Bartosz and Russell advised on escape or evasion being the most sensible methods and asked the students to suggest options. Doors, windows and fire escapes are always a choice while barricading yourself in a room is the next best option. Recent attacks in the world have seen groups do just that and survive because of it. Bartosz mentioned an incident where the gunman had seen a bunch of survivors run into a room but found it locked when he tried to follow them. Repeatedly shooting through the door achieved nothing and all occupants survived unscathed. The importance of silence and turning off all electronic equipment was stressed. One point made by Russell was that phones should be turned to silent and if you dial 999, mute the conversation so that the operator can hear you but the phone makes no noise at your end to alert anyone with evil intentions as to where you are hiding.

Bartosz then asked the group how many exits there were in the immediate vicinity, including the outer corridors to the room we were in. No one got the answer right and he made it clear that knowing exit points is also important (there were six).

Both instructors were keen to emphasise that fighting is a last resort but if it comes to that, you need to know what you are doing and think of what you can use as weapons. While all gun attacks are rare, ones organised and carried out by people with firearms or military training are super exceptional. Most will involve people who have "gone postal" for one reason or another.

An interesting point made was that 'who' is facing you is not important. It is 'what' you do to deal with it that matters. In most shooting sprees a large amount of rounds are fired in a very small amount of time. There are few fatalities but lots of injuries.

Etiquette was also emphasised. When the police or military arrive it is VERY important to appear docile, raise your hands and follow all instructions while remaining absolutely passive. Do not under any circumstances be mistaken for an active shooter.

After the preparation the students began a warm up, already involving replica pistols (pick up, try and disarm, repeat) and once everyone was sweating nicely they moved into the specific techniques. The first was a pistol disarm from the side, staying out of the peripheral vision of the gunman and twisting with the hips in order to get the gun away. This was expanded to include a single handed technique where you move to positions you can't be seen.

When the replica long barrelled guns were brought out Bartosz stated just how important it is to always follow up your disarm by using force to subdue. Otherwise the person will react to retain their position. Half measures are not good enough. One useful point raised amongst many was that when doing a long barrelled weapon disarm, straight arms are stronger than bent ones.

As we moved on through techniques involving intervention with a 3rd party being threatened and attempting to run once you have the gun, the crash mats came out and people tried the really fun stuff. Takedowns involved shouldering the gunman from behind while grabbing just below their knees and shoving forwards. The guys playing gunmen learned quickly to toss the AK47 away for fear of going face first into it as they plummeted down.

After this had been worked out they split into groups of 7 or 8 and had a scenario where a shooter entered the room and they had to act as a team to subdue him as quickly as possible. All scenarios went very well with the (heavily padded and helmeted) shooters coming out to face a pile up of epic proportions, with only a couple even managing to get the gun in a position where it could have been fired. KMM member Graham Matthews improvised by taking the first shooter's gun and then pretending to fire it at a belated second shooter who came into the fray. Threat neutralised.

Finally the students went into a small meeting room for a more realistic scenario. There were two shooters outside the room and the students inside had two minutes to arrange the furniture and devise a plan to deal with them as they entered. Cue tables getting upended and the dogpiles as gunmen entered the room.

Once again, to close the proceedings, certificates were awarded and everyone got a round of applause.

A lot of good concepts and top notch training on how to deal with this type of thing.

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