This past weekend Silvercore conducted yet another successful Combatives course at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. This eagerly anticipated course usually fills up quickly and is generally offered every few months. So what is it and what does it entail?
The Combatives course is a 2 day program detailing skills necessary to successfully prepare an individual for a potentially violent encounter – ranging from verbal abuse, empty hand attacks, knife defence, knife employment and use, defence from bludgeoning attacks from objects like sticks and even defending oneself from firearms within a certain range. All the skills practiced are done so from a legally justifiable standpoint, within the context of use of force and Canadian self-defence law. The skill-sets are simple, easy to learn, and are gross motor based. They are intentionally limited to keep them basic and applicable to the widest possible use and allowing them to be reasonably be applied under extremely stressful conditions. The course is held in a non-threatening, supportive environment, where learning takes precedence over ego, and although physical and aggressive in nature it is suitable for men and women of all ages and physical abilities.
Day 1 begins with a short lecture ranging from self-defence law/justifiable use of force, mindset and awareness, critical incident stress and deterrence/avoidance strategies among other self- defence topics. From the discussion we move directly into the physical skill part of the day. Distance/timing, defensive positions, some simple strikes and defensive movements fill up most of the morning. After lunch we move into situational scenarios detailing some “what if” concepts. Ranging from attacks like being choked in various ways, grabbed, pinned against a wall, having to come to the aid of a friend or loved one and struck repeatedly to name a few. Ground defence is an important component of the day and comes next. Take-down avoidance, defence from common holds and returning to a standing position to escape and disengage are practiced. Combinations of skills already practiced are put together with a pressure testing session at the end of the day. The instructors put on protective suits and the students respond to attacks with close to full force and test their mental stamina by continuing to defend themselves for at least a full minute.
Day 2 begins with a discussion on knife and stick defence. CCTV footage is viewed and broken down to illustrate common criminal use of the knife and bludgeons and how to respond in a way to defend against the most common methods statistically employed. We begin by looking at and practicing methods of deploying a pocket knife, cutting angles and concepts relating to targeting. Empty hand defence against someone using a knife against you follows, using gross motor skill and simple concepts of meeting angles. We then introduce the scenario of you having a knife yourself and employing it in defence from a similarly armed opponent. Both skill-sets are then pressure tested against a partner.
Stick defence helps individuals understand distance and timing, moving into the arc of an attack or disengaging if possible. If unavoidable, using empty hand skills against an armed opponent with a bludgeoning tool are practiced extensively. As with knife defence, we then introduce the scenario of you having a stick of your own and employing it against an armed opponent as well.
The last thing we tackle is the concept of defending against firearms as it should always be considered a last resort when the feeling would be that there is no other choice and compliance is not adequate. We first discuss the concepts involved, the distances and dynamics needed to accomplish a disarm and the mindset required to continue until successful. We go through the physical skills of disarming of handguns pointed at the body from both the front and rear, both high and low. Long guns are then addressed as the techniques are slightly different based on the extended length of the firearm. To end the day pressure testing may also be addressed to show the importance of mindset and physically overwhelming the opponent when dealing with firearms.
Silvercore prides itself on delivering a quality course both in the instruction and the equipment. Not only are the instructors experts in their field, fully experienced and versed in the techniques but the material and equipment used on the course are professional and purpose based. We use High Gear suits for full protection in scenarios, training weapons of high quality such as ASP brand red guns, folding knife trainers, and both rattan and foam covered PVC batons for contact practice (ASP batons are also used for deployment practice but not actual contact). Although most equipment is provided by Silvercore, it is also recommended that students bring additional protective equipment such as mouth guards, groin protection, and forearm/elbow guards if they wish a more dynamic experience.