Back in Nov. I had the great opportunity to offer my services to some of our nations real “warriors”. Men and women who have served multiple combat tours over the last 10 years and more during the global war on terror (GWOT). I cannot express what an honor it was for me to work with these soldiers who have sacrificed much to protect me, my family and and this nation. Thank you all for letting me work with you.
The following is an AAR of that training event provided by SFC A. Hess USARMY
MDTS M4 transition Class
On 3 November 12, 2013 MDTS conducted a seminar for a select group of Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division. The focus of the class was transition to a blade as a secondary weapon system. Many Soldiers do not carry pistols as their secondary and training for this transition is limited. Chris Fry had the solution to this problem.
I attended the MDTS Practical Knife Seminar this spring and found the training to be very valuable. I contacted Chris to see if he was interested in giving a seminar near Ft Drum for myself and some of my fellow instructors. Chris jumped at the opportunity and we began working out a focus. This class was military based and based on offensive movements.
Location: Training facility near Fort Drum, New York
Class size: 12
Chris opened up with a quick bio and quickly moved into Mindset. This is vital to what we do. You would assume that Soldiers all have proper mindset, but that assumption would be wrong. The first question was “are you ready?” ready for your M4 to go down? Ready for someone to get ahold of you or the firearm? The room was quiet as these questions sunk in.
Chris then introduced his Pyramid of Willingness, Awareness and Preparedness. While many who would be reading this have heard this before, there are some who haven’t. Chris broke willingness down in several ways to insure that everyone had an understanding (Sorry, to get the full class you have to attend an MDTS event.) This was followed by awareness and quickly into preparedness.
Chris explained desirable blade length and style. He dispelled many myths about blade selection and the pros/cons of a few different styles. This was followed by a placement overview focusing on workspace, mission and blade deployment. Once this was complete, Chris discussed Mobility, Transition, Disengagement and Angle (dominate position). This led into a discussion on our actions in the event of a muzzle grab upon entry. It was painfully obvious that we had not put a great deal of thought into our actions in this event. We then prioritized our actions with our mission in mind. This block of instruction lasted around an hour and it was time to get up and get moving.
The first drill that we worked on was called the “Billy Goat” drill. Those that have attended and MDTS or a class from Southrnarc, you know this drill. I recommend everyone try it. This drill immediately identified those, myself included, that had little skill or knowledge in footwork and ECQ. We attempted to bully our way into a good position and quickly found that we were unable to do so.
We worked our way thru basic footwork and simple movements to get into a position to not only deploy the blade but be able to get effective use out of it. We used the MDTS padded rifles to work out some basic strikes with the rifle prior to blade deployment. These trainers allowed us to quickly see how effective the rifle can be and to identify gear issues that can be prevented.
Excitement ramped up when Chris broke out the NoK training blades. After some basic handling instruction, we integrated the knives into the drills we had already been working.
The intent of the day was not to end up on the ground fighting. This course was designed for offensive maneuver in combat environments. Being on the ground in a wrestling match during a kinetic operation is not a good place to be. Chris worked us in teams on a basic technique for reaction during a weapon grab on entry to a room. There are many thoughts on how to deal with this, so more realistic than others. The technique Chris outlined is teachable and usable. I am not going to go into the techniques and drills here but there are ways to learn it.
I contacted Chris with a basic intent of finding ways to improve our foot work and to find new ways to rapidly teach a fighting stance to our students. It was also a team building event with our instructors.
All intents were met with professionalism and beyond expectations. My team and I have trained over 250 this year with 240 on tap for the next year. We have combined nearly 20 years of combat experience. When I say that training with Chris is worth it, this is a truth based on the above. I highly recommend MDTS be one of your training stops.