Active Self Protection’s National Conference Sept. 2022

“There is but one solution to the intricate riddle of life; to improve ourselves and contribute to the happiness of others.”

― Mary Shelley

I have just returned from my 5th conference of the year, The Active Self Protection‘s National Conference aka Bullets and Bibles. Just like the name, this conference one is unique on many levels:

1- We host two events, The Mingle and The Quest. This allows me some insight into what it takes to organize and run such an event. Arranging sponsors, getting swag, setting up instructors, organizing support staff, and registers clients are the lead-up activities that take 4-6 months to manage. John Correia, Stephanie, and Neal Wiendner do this while donating all proceeds to the Flint Hills Foster Teen Camp. An incredible act of generosity and service.

2- As a traveling instructor, I have a great deal of insight into what it takes to teach at a conference. We only have so many weekends to train because of the weather and holidays. Every instructor donated three days of their prime schedule to teach, and some did not charge travel expenses. In every class, the instructors jumped in to be assistants to the primary instructor. We shared our knowledge and our craft. Many of us donated courses and merchandise to the Paul Carlson impromptu auction.

3- The support staff was fantastic. Setting up, providing medical coverage, delivering water, shuttling equipment, and generally being the oil that kept this event running. There was a bulletin issued about my water intake, so they kept me well hydrated and fed. The phrase from “A letter to Garcia,” “to cheerfully catch hold and lift” was what I witnessed from all of them. Too many folks to name, but hopefully, they received many thanks.

4- The attendees are a unique group because they are not the usual training junkies. New shooters that are interested in personal protection and trust the ASP brand. They are the kindest and most generous group I have had the pleasure to train with and teach. All of the fees go to kids in need, but if that is not enough, the raffles and impromptu auctions raised even more money. Items sold for 3-4 times their value and more. It is the highlight of the weekend watching the spirit of generosity move people to save kids from being homeless.

5- Of course, confirmed winners are the kids. Attending a camp helps keep them from being homeless as they age out of the foster care system. Mike and Lisa do fantastic work with grace and love, and now these kids can rest assured that a community cares about them and wants to succeed and thrive despite the adversity they face.

Again, here is the link to this special place. Please consider adding Flint Hills Foster Teen Camps to your list of yearly donations. I hope that the spirit and generosity of this weekend revisits them over and over throughout the year.

Craig Douglas = A teacher that has 3 areas of skill

In August 2021 I attended a class called Extreme Close Quarter Concepts (ECQC) by Craig Douglas of ShivWorks.

I am remiss in writing this review sooner. Sickness, legal battles, and travel has all intervened but I really wanted to put a few thoughts about Craig, a master teacher, to “paper”.

The ShivWorks Extreme Close Quarter Concepts (ECQC) course is a two-and-a-half-day (20-hour) block of instruction that offers a multi-disciplinary approach to building functional, combative handgun skills at zero to five feet. The course is designed to instill core concepts of seamless integration and provide the platform for aggressive problem solving during a life or death struggle at arm’s length or closer. We emphasize the common body mechanics that apply across different skill sets. That way, all combative software is reinforcing. Once students’ skill sets are ingrained, they will be stress inoculated with force-on-force drills using marking cartridges and protective equipment”. ShivWorks

I think teachers have 3 areas of skill, mastery of subject matter, being an engaging speaker/wordsmith, and relating to and understand people. Most good teachers have one area where they excel, great teachers have strong grasp of two, but the master level teachers do all three well.

Craig Douglas is such a teacher. A comprehensive grasp of the technical skills, a engaging speaker with a wonderfully expressive vocabulary, and the EQ to manage all types of people.

I learned a great deal in this class in the application of entangled fighting and weapon use, but especially in his management of the firing line with close quarters shooting skills which is a needed and difficult area of training.

I am humbled and grateful to be able to train with Craig, and I highly recommend his course work.

On side note, I wore my Enigma holster which conceals and performs exceptionally! I think I need a new shirt! Thanks Phlster.

Brian Hill