REDMAN Training Course 30th November 2002
On the 30th November I was one of nine students in attendance at the Red-man training centre in Milton Keynes. It was here, for the first time ever outside of the U.S.A that the chance of Certification to become a Red-man Simulation Instructor was available. This course has been designed for Use-of-Force Instructors within the field of Law enforcement, the Military and Security Personnel, who wish to utilise Red-man training gear to improve impact weapon and empty hands skills.

The course provided a number of recommendations and concepts on how to implement padded simulation armour within a Defensive Tactics Programme. This course is hands-on; especially the "Dynamic Scenario Workshop. Once we had been through all of the safety checks and were shown some of the limitations of the Red-man suit we moved straight into the Simulation and Scenario drills.

 
This drill was originally designed by Bill Kipp and Peyton Quinn of RMCAT Adrenal stress conditioning in Colorado USA. The aim is to induce adrenal stress and force you to overcome the dreaded 'freeze response' that is common during a violent and aggressive, situation. Here is how it works. The rules are that for this particular drill you are limited to the use of a padded baton and when the opportunity to strike presents it's self, you must put in 3 good shots to the padded arm of your 'crazed knife wielding assailant'. Then a whistle will blow and the simulation is over.

Your objective is to simply reach the other end of the room. Your assailant has a different idea. His objective is to act in an unpredictable crazy-man style, most likely starting with some kind of deceptive dialogue as he approaches you asking for any spare change. With his knife-concealing arm held behind his back, wearing a back to front baseball cap, shades and a Charles Manson T-shirt, this assailant came complete with the most convincing lunatic role-play that I've ever seen. From here he will change into extremely aggressive dialogue, shouting expletives at you in a salivating frenzy guaranteed to elicit the adrenal response in anyone.

Your role is to maintain a good degree of control by giving clear verbal commands such as "stay where you are!" and "show me your hands now!" You need to make sure the whole time that you maintain distance and good positioning during this verbal interview. At some point he will draw the knife and attempt to rapidly close the distance as he frantically slashes and stabs at you with his wooden training knife. Your response in an ideal world is to instantly attack with your 3 well aimed baton strikes to his newly presented weapon arm.

Then the whistle will blow and the simulation ends. The sole purpose of this drill is to re-create the effects of the adrenal dump. The fact that this is just a drill in a safe training environment makes no difference to the feelings of adrenaline that you WILL feel during this simulation. When faced with what the brain perceives as naked aggression and danger whether it is real or just convincing role-play, your brain will shift into the mid-brain survival-state dumping adrenaline into the system to help you out of the danger you're facing this is the 'fight or flight response'.

Dry mouth, tunnel vision and auditory exclusion are just some of the effects you will feel during the ordeal. By doing this kind of training you are de-sensitising yourself to the effects of adrenal stress whilst over coming the dreaded freeze response by taking positive physical action. Not forgetting of course that this is an instructional drill designed to make you more efficient in the heat of combat, therefore if mistakes are made they can be pin-pointed and rectified on your next go. Unlike a real situation where second chances are rare, here you can drill it until you get it right. The exercise then becomes a massive confidence builder.

The rest of the day continued with Simulation Training and a Dynamic Scenario Workshop. The important difference between the two is that Simulations are pre-decided drills known to both the fully armoured assailant and the person on the defence. Realism is added by using role-play and a fair degree of physical impact during the contact drills.

Where as a Dynamic Scenario Workshop although planned and following a certain theme, when the action starts you are pretty much left to your own devices regarding how you deal with it. Any scenario will require 3 things to make it functional; it must be safe, dynamic and realistic. The 4 components that make this possible are the instructor, the format, the equipment and the supervision. Here is an example from one such scenario. Again you are limited to the use of a padded baton only this time you are facing two fully armoured Red-man instructors padded from head to toe. Now any primary target is valid. Any scenario requires role players; in this case there are two Red-man instructors who play the role of two aggressors having a violent confrontation, then yourself as the candidate who in this case plays the role of a Law enforcement officer (hence the baton) who has been called to a scene where two known violent individuals are having an altercation in a public place. One other person who is playing the role of a member of the public has seen you approach and has ran up to you saying something like "excuse me officer there's two blokes round the corner having a right ol' set to you'd better get there quick."

Two additional players will be the evaluator, who will take stock of how you deal with the situation, looking at your observation skills, your body positioning, verbal dissuasion and physical response and finally the safety officer who blows the whistle to stop the event. So now you have your format and your players.

You now have a basic idea of what you are dealing with. What you don't know however is how these two armoured aggressors are going to react to your attempt at a crisis intervention. In this case the Red-man Instructors have been briefed before hand, unbeknown to you they are going to ignore all your attempts to resolve the situation peacefully until you make a mistake in your positioning, where they will both then turn and attack you from either side with the aim of closing you in and rendering you in-active.

Of course the ideal response will be to maintain an ideal position where you can stay in front of one aggressor keeping the other directly behind him. The instant the closest one makes any attempt to move on you, you take him out with clinical baton strikes to the arms and/or legs. From there you either pre-emptively strike the second one or keep him at bay with verbal commands until the whistle blows ending the scenario.

The day continued with similar scenarios followed a de-briefing and an evaluation based on your level of performance. Then we had to make up a small group and put together our own design for a Dynamic Scenario, taking into account the theme, how many players, the equipment and safety factors etc. Once this had been approved and improved by the senior Combatives instructor Dave Thatcher, we had to present the newly designed scenario for other students in the class to perform and then evaluate and vice/versa. Some of the ideas were excellent and the potential for ideas are endless. All in all this method of modern Combatives training is a definite step in the right direction for anyone wishing to test their skills under pressure in a safe training environment. This kind of training has been used by Military and Law enforcement instructors for years but is only just starting to catch on as a training method for civilian martial artists and students of Combatives. This is the first course of this kind that I have seen in the U.K.

The majority of martial artists today are still missing that essential adrenal stress inducing element in their training. Of course whenever you add pressure testing of any kind into your curriculum the adrenal stress will be present, just ask any of Geoff's lads about their now legendary 'Animal Days' and they will tell you the same thing. I find this same pressure most Sunday mornings, when I get up early to go to my local amateur boxing club for a tough work out followed by a few rounds of hard sparring with some of the best carded fighters in the club.

The benefit of Simulation and Scenario training with quality body armour and supervision will reduce the chances of injury and make the whole event a lot safer therefore making it a good training method for everyone. Hard sparring and 'Animal day' type drills with no more than a pair of bag gloves and a gum shield are the best method for pressure testing that I have ever tried, short of a 'live situation' but not everyone is prepared to try it, for good reason and I respect that.

Courses like the Red man, Fist-suit and the excellent RMCAT Adrenal Stress Conditioning programme in America can all provide de-sensitisation to adrenal stress through realistic scenario training. (See Fast Defence Profile & article) So long as it places you in that mid-brain survival state and allows you to drill a positive physical response to such stimuli, then you will be training effectively.

I highly recommend this kind of training to anyone involved in Combatives, martial arts and the Security industry. I use this method and elements of it to teach all my students with positive results. I also have access to a night club environment complete with dance floor and bar areas, toilets and fire escapes that we use during the day and mid-week nights, specifically for scenario training with a few of my students who are also door men. This gives us the opportunity to recreate scenarios from past 'live' situations and look at our best options. Anyone interested in the Red man course should contact Dave Thatcher @ www.irh-defensivetactics.com www.ihr-defensivetactics.com more information can be obtained by visiting www.redman-ma.com and www.rmcat.com

© Lee Morrison : No text or images may be copied without prior permission of the author.