Active Response Training (Greg Ellifritz)
15 March 2014
On 15 March 2014 I attended a one day groundfighting course taught by Greg Ellifritz. The course was hosted by John Murphy from FPF Training and held at a local boxing gym in Culpeper, VA. The gym offered a clean, dry, and warm place to train. I firmly believe this helped the learning process.
The vast majority of my training over the years has been gun centric. I have been attempting to correct that by branching out and working on knife and stick skills. My formal combatives training has been limited to MAC stuff in the Army and some in-service stuff.
The class started with a brief introduction by John and some ground rules from the gym. We started promptly at 9 with instructor and student introductions. Going around the room it was obvious that the experience and skill level of the attendees varied widely. There were folks with zero training to those that have been involved in various martial arts for a decade or more. Greg promised that he would be able to start out at the ground level and work on improving all of our skills as the day progressed.
The course started with the idea of handling a threat with three options. Escaping from the area, handling the threat with unarmed techniques, and finally having to resort to lethal responses (armed or unarmed). This would be touched on several times throughout the day. We then moved on to working the various positions and pros and cons of each.
We then teamed up with what would be the first of several partners we would have for the day. Greg likes to you to keep swapping partners so that you get a feel for working against various body types, heights, and strength levels. The first drills had us on the ground working against an opponent on his or her feet. Greg feels that this is an area lacking in many formal martial arts types. Groundfighting doesn’t necessarily mean all of the participants are on the deck. We also covered a couple of methods of getting back to our feet. This would prove important if you intend on escaping from the encounter.
We got used to shifting our bodies to keep our feet between us and a threat and also how to deliver low line kicks against them. Greg kept us honest with our defensive positions by coming around and delivering open hand strikes to ensure you were covering up. From there we worked on various leg and arm take downs against the standing opponent.
Next up we got into the actual grappling portion that most folks envision when speaking of groundfighting. Greg covered multiple escapes from the guard and mount as well as “rest positions” to allow us to catch our breath while minimizing the damage dished out by our opponents.
From there we learned some defenses against tackles and various types of chokes. Numerous techniques were shown and we were given ample opportunity to practice each.
Greg also taught a quick block on rape defense. This was not only important for the females in attendance but also simple enough for the male students to take make to the ladies in their lives.
This wrapped up the segment of less lethal responses. If we found ourselves in a position where none of this would help get us out of the situation, we now had to progress to lethal force. Greg covered some rather nasty but brutally efficient means of disabling an attacker with unarmed techniques.
Moving along with the lethal force trend we started to incorporate dummy guns into our drills. The difficulty of getting to any weapon, no matter the carry location, was an eye opener for many. Far too often people see a firearm or knife as the easy answer to any lethal force issue. The problems start to arise when you cannot access it at all or when you need to have some empty hand skills to help you create the time and distance needed to get the weapons into play.
We worked on weapons retention in the holster, presenting the weapon as to maintain control of it, the intricacies of extreme close range fighting, target selection, and malfunction clearance using not only our body but that of our attacker. This easily could have been a day long course on its own.
We then went on to practice defense against both a knife and handgun. Once we got started we saw that much of the skills we had spent the morning working on carried over directly to defending against a weapon. This was not by chance. Greg built his system around these possibilities instead of having a totally different set of procedures to follow.
That is one of the biggest takeaways from this course. We weren’t expected to come in with decades of experience or the thought that we would go forth to attend training twice a week for the rest of our lives. As with Greg’s knife and stick training, it was all presented in an easy to follow method. It focuses more on theory than it does technique. Keeping things simple means we can practice on our own and have a much higher probability of retaining these skills so there are there when we need them.
Free time is a foreign concept to me between a full time job, teaching at school that has be on the range 3 weekends a month, and running my own training company on the side. It isn’t uncommon for me to run 5 weeks or more without a single day off. That kind of crunch means I have to be very selective about my training time. There is a reason why I have made the choice to train with Greg so many times over the years.
You can find more information about Greg’s courses at: http://www.activeresponsetrain...net/upcoming-classes