Preparation for Shivworks

“Using a knife is an extension of your will.”

-Craig Douglas

I originally planned on doing a course review of EWO, but there are plenty of those on the line.  I decided to write a “How to Guide” preparing for EWO or ECQC.  Hopefully, this will help you get ready for these classes without trying to sift through a bunch of AARs of these two courses.  I will say again, these courses are great, even though I do not agree with Craig 100%. But we had sidebar conversations when I attended both courses.  By stating that, we were able to have an open dialog and he was not put off in any way.  We both can see where each the other one is coming from and understood we are reaching the some of the problems a different way. Let’s be clear, when I said do not agree with Craig 100%, we only disagree on a few things. It’s nothing to cry over.

Now here we go, let’s get into how to be better prepared for EWO and ECQC.  First off, you should be doing some type of fitness. Be able to lift heavy things repeatedly, be able to do that while breathing hard, and be able to breathe hard for a long time.  For some taking these courses they come to the realization, just technique work or doing some type of hybrid self-defense system is not enough in the big picture of a defensive lifestyle.  Why do you ask? In a fight, not in a competition mindset, being physiologically bigger, within reason, and stronger is better.  This will give you a better chance to move your attacker’s body weight.

Secondly, you should train some stand-up and ground based system. I trained at Forca Martial Arts under Brain Wilson for just under two years in a few disciplines.  What I have learned there has untimely made better prepared for my defensive lifestyle.  The only caveat is not everything I did was not in the context of self-defense.  I mainly trained for sport in BJJ tournaments or fighting in the cage.  Many things can transfer to self-defense, but I can definitely tell I still have that sporting mindset from time to time when doing some evolutions in these courses.  The same thing happened to a few guys in EWO who trained in BJJ as well.  When you train for points the overwhelming majority of the time, you will have more of a tendency to get caught in a bad position when weapons are in the situation. What I recommend is the following: American Kickboxing with a hint of Muay Thai, BJJ, Wrestling, and No-Gi.  That length of time one should do this is subjective.  Some will need more, and others will need less.

Finally, you need to bring some specific gear with you, not mentioned in the packing list.  A beanie is a must. With the amount of head control you will do in this class, this will mitigate the mark of the goat.  A rash-guard, mainly for EWO, will help with your arms getting torn up.  Around my wrist and elbows, they were sore and my hair was being repeatedly being pulled out.  Baby wipes and a small towel will is also another great addition. Think about it, you are doing a lot of body contact with a bunch of people. It doesn’t hurt to wipe down you face, neck, arms, and hands after each drill.  I’m prone to skin infections from my MMA days.  I did not want to spread anything nor did I want to get anything from anyone else.

I hope this helps you from taking these courses from Shivworks.  One thing I’ve forgotten to mention be nice.  I had a bad run in with a contractor guy in ECQC.  He was out of his comfort zone and for a lack of a better word, was a bit of a dick. Everyone is there to become better and regardless you skill level, you will fail at some point in this class. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Craig, taking his classes, and his VCAST is on my list. I’m hoping to take it next year.  If you do all of this, your time will be better served for the class.  It’s a lot. Do what you can, when you can and you’ll be just fine.

CEO, Dynamic Training Strategies

-Tyler Grant