Masters of Combat

By E.M. Burton

In Combatives, LEO/Mil

October 14, 2012

PDF Article

E.M. Burton talks self-defense with combatives experts Jeff Gonzales and Tony Blauer.

This summer I received a Smith & Wesson Model 340 .357 five-shooter as a birthday gift from CrossFit Inc. I’d never touched a gun before, so I decided to learn how to use it.

I contacted Trident Concepts of Austin, Texas, owned by a former SEAL by the name of Jeff Gonzales. With his first available Combative Pistol Level 1 scheduled for late spring, we decided on two days of personal sessions, and we brought Tony Blauer of CrossFit Defense along for the ride.

Before spending two days in the company of the weapons and combatives experts, I asked girlfriends of mine—neither CrossFitters nor trigger pullers—what they would want to ask a guy like Gonzales if they had the opportunity?

Their top three questions:

1. How do you avoid becoming a victim or target in the first place?

2. What three things do you need to know to have the best outcome when defending yourself?

3. What factors determine whether one would stay and fight or try to flee?

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16 Comments on “Masters of Combat”

1

wrote …

I am a little confused about the direction of crossfit , why are people giving people guns as gifts?

So is crossfit owned by the U.S. Military now? I understand the military and it's importance but why are we teaching people hand to hand combat and how to shoot and have a plan in a gunfight?

Every year there seems to be one or more very unfortunate incident where a civilian with a mental illness takes a gun or many guns into a public setting and kills indiscriminately.

Now if I was in the military or police force this is a necessary skill and would be taught to me in a professional setting.

The issue with gun control is not generally with those trained in their use it is the regular joe that can go out to Wall Mart and buy a weapon or go to a bank and open an account and get a hunting rifle as a gift.


Carve us into soldiers, fit, lean mean fighting machines then put weapons in our hand.

Is the next crossfit games going to have a hostage in a burning building WOD.

2

wrote …

While I agree with you that it is a little strange for CrossFit to be giving people weapons as gifts, I completely disagree with your assertion that civilians shouldn't learn hand to hand combat or have an idea of how to protect themselves in ANY instance. I actually applaud CrossFit's stance on firearms and being able to protect oneself. Sure, someone with a mental illness could obtain a weapon and use it to kill indiscriminantly, as you've stated (and as we've seen), but those people can do that regardless of stringent gun laws. The people who are using weapons illegally 9 times out of 10 are obtaining them illegally as well. The more law-abiding citizens who have weapons who are trained in using them and are also trained in self-protection, the better. Our country will be a safer place because of people who are willing to protect themselves and others. The Virginia Tech shooting had military cadets in the classroom with the shooter. Imagine if this cadet was allowed the opportunity to carry a concealed weapon. My bet is there would have been many less casualties that day.

3

wrote …

Tod,

CDC rates assault as #15 as a leading cause of death in the US. Now look closely at the States where CHL's are permitted, it doesn't break into the top 15. Facts verses a perceived reality. As Whitney stated the more trained and armed civilians there are, the victim count will be less...

CDC stats

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/mortality/lcwk9.htm

the latest is 2009

4

wrote …

Looks like CrossFit can't train out the "pussy" in a lot of people.

We are still allowed to arm ourselves for our protection and the protection of our families and other innocents in this country. There is nothing wrong with it at all. I'm glad CrossFit is taking steps to inform people about how to obtain proper training in the use of firearms.

Refuse to be a victim, people. Arm yourselves. Take care of yourselves.

5

William, a quick look over the link you have provided shows a very different story. Looking at 2009, the first 2 states listed alphabetically (Alabama and Alaska) both listed assault in the top 15 causes of death. Both seem to permit concealed handgun carry, in fact Alaska does not require any permit.

I'm glad this article takes a sensible approach to learning gun safety and use. More people should learn how to be safe with a firearm (at least if they are going to have them).

Chris, guns don't make people any less "pussy".

6

wrote …

Hey Chris,

Not saying firearms are bad or people shouldn't have them...

I think a day at the shooting range doesn't equal competency. It sounds like you have been to a shooting range or two in your day and you have seen many people that have no business owning a gun.

All the best to you and do whatever you think you need to protect your family.

Myself I would do anything to protect my family but I don't have to like it, I don't want to walk around full of fear and hate sorry.


Whitney,

Didn't say people shouldn't learn how to protect themselves the hand to hand combat stuff is appropriate I agree.

Recently there was a fellow being chased down by police in NYC they shot up the street killing innocent bystanders in fact they found the criminal didn't discharge his weapon.

Just find the evolution of the crossfit site interesting in the past couple of years it has really gone into some interesting area's, hand stand walks, back flips and combat skills....

I am surprised there hasn't been much on Yoga and meditation the world is so busy and full of phones, computers and media. Heck Kim Kardashian is a celebrity...? wtf


7

wrote …

Wow, did anyone see the amount of deaths attributed to assaults(homicide) in D.C.? It was the seventh leading cause of death there. I know it is one area and probably constitutes an outlier statistically, but it still occurred.

The problem with the chart is it makes no distinction between self defense and criminal homicides. To get a true outlook for the amount of deaths attributed to criminal homicide the Uniform Crime Report needs to be referenced because the numbers are very different.

Nationally, the CDC considers 16,799 deaths directly attributable to homicide while the UCR considers 15,241 crimes to be murders/nonnegligent manslaughter(homicide), a 1,558 difference between the two sources.

http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_05.html

8

wrote …

Everytime I see a weapons article on the journal, I always ask myself about the purpose of the content. Why are they so weapons intensive?

Why not get experts who can demonstrate the fine skills of: shooting free throws, hitting a golf ball better or tips in tennis, scuba diving, mountain biking, skiing, etc...

What's the obsessions with CF and guns?

9

wrote …

Tom
Yes on the surface it appears that way. I am happy to research the numbers as far as victims of crime or suspects of crime being assaulted and how many times a firearm was used. It is contained in the UCR reports that the FBI puts out. My quote was general and I still stand by it in an overall sense. In Texas where I live and work, it's not in the top 15 and as everybody knows we have a lot of guns here. I am a full-time LEO and I am glad that people have a right to protect themselves away from the home. Most of the calls I respond to are after the fact. If a victim dials 911 it can take 10-30 seconds for us to get going in the direction of the call. A lot can happen in 5 seconds.

I will research and lpost when I get them. I'm on light duty awaiting a knee replacement in Nov. lots of time to do it

10

wrote …

Hey Chris,

Not saying firearms are bad or people shouldn't have them...

I think a day at the shooting range doesn't equal competency. It sounds like you have been to a shooting range or two in your day and you have seen many people that have no business owning a gun.

All the best to you and do whatever you think you need to protect your family.

Myself I would do anything to protect my family but I don't have to like it, I don't want to walk around full of fear and hate sorry.


Whitney,

Didn't say people shouldn't learn how to protect themselves the hand to hand combat stuff is appropriate I agree.

Recently there was a fellow being chased down by police in NYC they shot up the street killing innocent bystanders in fact they found the criminal didn't discharge his weapon.

Just find the evolution of the crossfit site interesting in the past couple of years it has really gone into some interesting area's, hand stand walks, back flips and combat skills....

I am surprised there hasn't been much on Yoga and meditation the world is so busy and full of phones, computers and media. Heck Kim Kardashian is a celebrity...? wtf


11

wrote …

@ Mr. Rees

I am shocked with the amount of LEO, Military, former Military and Martial Artists in the CrossFit community that there are not more firearm and self-defense centric articles and classes. I think that if you have those skills and you see a need or interest among your community you fill it. If the CrossFit community needed classes in drown proofing your child they would fill that too oh wait they do. I can tell you I have taught a number of people about firearms and shooting who had no exposer them and were frankly afraid of fire arms and didn’t understand them. This is not meant to be a dig but there tone was a lot like yours. I think for a lot of people CrossFit is preparing for life and engaging in the adventure, that whole the unknown and unknowable thing. I think If someone wanted to teach CPR or first Aid in or to a CrossFit Gym they would do an article on that too. I think it is kind of weird that you are surprised by it. For the record this article was not about guns it was mostly about street survival and that is preparing for the unknown or unknowable.

12

wrote …

This piece followed an earlier article, which doesn't appear in the 'related articles' feed unless you look for more. Perhaps it may be of further interest:

http://journal.crossfit.com/2012/09/mastering-the-art-of-self-defense-a-beginners-guide-to-pistol-combatives.tpl

13

wrote …

The self-defense aspects aside, we shouldn't forget that shooting is a sport too. And, as coach Glassman puts it, learn and play sports.

14

wrote …

Hey Chris,

Not saying firearms are bad or people shouldn't have them...

I think a day at the shooting range doesn't equal competency. It sounds like you have been to a shooting range or two in your day and you have seen many people that have no business owning a gun.

All the best to you and do whatever you think you need to protect your family.

Myself I would do anything to protect my family but I don't have to like it, I don't want to walk around full of fear and hate sorry.


Whitney,

Didn't say people shouldn't learn how to protect themselves the hand to hand combat stuff is appropriate I agree.

Recently there was a fellow being chased down by police in NYC they shot up the street killing innocent bystanders in fact they found the criminal didn't discharge his weapon.

Just find the evolution of the crossfit site interesting in the past couple of years it has really gone into some interesting area's, hand stand walks, back flips and combat skills....

I am surprised there hasn't been much on Yoga and meditation the world is so busy and full of phones, computers and media. Heck Kim Kardashian is a celebrity...? wtf


15

wrote …

It looks like the bigger theme is being overshadowed by the fixation on guns. The content of the article speaks to the overarching theme of how CrossFit makes you better at life and what you enjoy. CrossFit is about training for the unknown and unknowable, which by-the-way IS in the Games every year. The article is about how CrossFit makes you a better warrior, whether in the military or a civilian, and how CrossFit can prepare you mentally and physically to endure hardship. Learning skills and expressing your athleticism through your hobbies and sport.

16

replied to comment from Todd Rees

In response to Todd:

I'm VERY new on the CrossFit scene, but in that brief time I have come to understand it's about GPP, or General Physical Preparedness. It's being able to handle whatever your day throws at you, especially the unexpected. That's where the combat arts are coming into play.

However, the business person in me sees it in much more simplistic terms: There is a demand for it.

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