Educators with Guns; and Kicks; and Punches: Training Educators for the “Real Thing”
By Brennan Crain on March 6, 2018
Educators take turns utilizing the “attack” portion of RCAT.
In wake of recent events around the country, a local initiative involving martial arts and Krav Maga has occurred. Educators congregated in the South Green Elementary School gymnasium to learn the basics of how to handle and carry-out an active shooter situation.
Master Sam Hunter, a Krav Maga instructor at American Martial Arts Academy in Glasgow, has an extensive history in the martial arts setting.
“I started martial arts [when I was] about ten years old, so I guess about 36 years,” states Hunter. Hunter also reveals that he has trained soldiers in the military and is currently a level five black belt.
Krav Maga, termed Krav for short, is a self-defense and fighting system that was created in Israel with the intention of protecting Israeli soldiers. The technique instructed in a typical Krav class is also employed by the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI. One could image the excitement of the educators as they learned they would be capable of performing various tasks that the highest ranking military combatants use.
Educators observe the instructor during the first rotation. This is the tactical station.
Numerous schools were represented from the community including those from Barren Co. Schools and Glasgow Independent Schools. Placing the burgundy and blue aside, all teachers were there for the same intent: to train themselves to better protect their schools and their students in the case of a tragedy, small or large. One teacher from Austin Tracy Elementary School had never taken a self-defense course until Hunter’s class. Britney Jones reveals why she came to the class.
“I just feel like with everything that’s been happening, you know around in the media, the nation; we just need some help, we need to be able to have some defense to protect our kids,” expresses Jones. “I think of the kids in my class as my ‘babies’; they’re my ‘kiddos’ hat I spend every day with and I feel like I would have to take a stance to protect them.” Jones also reveals why she feels the class is necessary beyond learning the Krav technique, “You want the best for your kids.”
Jones also reveals that she has participated in an active shooter simulation in the past, but the Krav technique was a new idea to her, as it was to many of the educators. One educator, on the other hand, has been involved in Master Hunter’s Krav Maga class since last September.
BCHS teacher Jaime McMillan explains why she attended the course.
Hunter demonstrates how to apprehend a weapon from the side.
“I came tonight because I take the Krav Maga course with Master Hunter and he asked that all of us in the course to come, and help people, and help demonstrate. However, I do feel it important and necessary for teachers in the community to come, just because there are so many factors that you wouldn’t think of in an active shooter situation that they teach you about in Krav. So I feel like it will be beneficial for everyone here,” expresses McMillan.
The class began with a video detailing what an active shooter situation might look like, displaying the signs and consequences of failing to see those signs as well. This video was meant to provoke thought among the teachers and to prepare their minds for the training ahead. So much thought was provoked, that Hunter talked about the importance of knowing how to react, and asked the teachers questions. Hunter vehemently emphasized that the class was only the first step to taking action, and that additional practice is needed to truly prepare for that “one moment.”
Physical training was mainly addressed, but not before Hunter revealed that psychological processes can directly affect physiological processes. Hunter explained that the body reacts in a demanding situation with “adrenal stress;” a stress contributed by the body worrying itself and reacting, neglected the mindset of the person (fight or flight). Hunter compared this experience to what the sensation a driver feels when an animal runs in front of their vehicle: the heart pumping violently after the event.
Hunter consistently stressed the importance of having a school plan and a “go-bag” ready with essentials for an emergency. He mentioned that this could mean having materials for events outside of a shooting, but recommended it be a priority to prepare a bag. He also described what he called the “fatal five” which is an idea that explains if teachers and students can make it past the first five minutes of an emergency, then you will very likely survive the event.
But the main source of the teachers’ interest focused on physical strategies such as running, hiding, and fighting. Hunter taught that “if you can run, always run, and if you can hide, always hide.” However, this class mainly focused on the fighting aspect of the three points, which is the last resort after you realize you can not run or hide.
McMillan holds a simulated weapon to train an educator the “control” portion of RCAT
Participants were split up into three different groups and were taught basic fighting skills in each. From practicing punches to kicking, educators were immediately engaged from the start of the class. The skills were demonstrated and practiced for several minutes until educators rotated to new groups.
Later in the training came the weapons: simulated shotguns, Glock pistols, and the infamous AR-15. Each was used by Hunter’s assistants to facilitate practice disarming and immobilizing a suspect. At this point, Hunter introduced a new concept: RCAT. RCAT is an acronym for Redirect, Control, Attack, and Takeaway. This method was demonstrated to all of the educators, detailing each step in the process.
The only thing left to complete the training was a simulation. Educators joined each other in two groups and applied themselves in the classrooms of the school. They were evaluated on how well they blockaded the entry points to areas, how they engaged the shooter, and how well they can take down the suspect. Educators stood in locked classrooms and waited for a forced entry, then proceeded to engage the simulated shooter. With sound effects of screams and anguish over the intercom, Hunter barged into classrooms where he was bombarded with fake books – a positive sign that teachers were engaging the shooter correctly, and utilizing the RCAT method.
After the classrooms and hallways were evacuated and refilled, the training came to an end. Educators were informed and encouraged after departing. Hunter mentions one objective he had the entire time, “I want to empower you!”
Educators learn proper attack methods to protect students during an emergency.
And although there was no closing ceremony like the opening, Hunter mentioned that “there is no magic solution.” He confidently told the educators that if they were serious and wanted to be engaged in regular training, then they must do just that; try.
Any questions or remarks involving the training and how you might sign up for a Krav Maga course can be sent to Master Hunter’s email: email@example.com.
Brennan Crain is the Editor-in-Chief of The Trojan Times. Crain is the co-founder of the Burgundy Media Network, a multimedia news program at Barren County High School, formed in the spring of 2017. Crain has served for two years and also is a news anchor for BCHS Today.