All Roads Lead to Shivworks

| January 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

My wife and I put our deposits in for the Shivworks ECQC class being held in Minnesota in June of 2017.

That means we’re less than five months away from grunting, sweating, bleeding, stabbing, and shooting alongside 14 other people.

And the FiST helmets. Ah, the FiST helmets.

I’m also coming off a particularly “carefree” holiday, where I attempted to see just how pre-diabetic I really am. Good news is that I didn’t wind up on insulin, the bad news is that I have some ground to make up.

Here are my preparations for ECQC this June.


This was a big goal from 2015 to 2016’s ECQC. I gassed early and often in 2015, especially during the drills on Saturday. My fitness was better in 2016, but I think a lot of it had to do with relaxing / not freaking out as much.

Still, I just about threw up during one of my evolutions, so I will continue to work on my functional strength and cardio.

Day 1: Men’s Health 4-movement kettlebell routine

20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off -> next movement, repeat through all 4 movements for a “round.” Do not pause between rounds. Currently 3 rounds, goal is to increase to 6 rounds by June.

Day 2: Original Spartacus Workout

10 exercises, with as many reps as possible in 60 seconds. 15 second rest between each exercise. Rest for two minutes after all 10 exercises, then repeat for a total of three cycles.

Vomiting optional. Hopefully.

Day 3: P90X3 Yoga

Dat core muscle and balance game. ~30 minutes of yoga.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Jiu-jitsu

Roughly 75 minutes a day, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Not the most physically demanding thing we do right now, but getting the body moving on a regular schedule is important for both of us.

Skill Development


Our Jiu-jitsu training is still very basic and entry level, but I’m getting more comfortable and starting to recognize opportunities and minimize risks.

I am grateful for the work I’ve done in ECQC and Immediate Action Jiu-jitsu with Cecil Burch. I learned that timing is extremely important.

If I had not learned that lesson — the hard way — I’d be more focused on submissions than position or control.

Without proper position and control, accessing a weapon or attempting a technique is just a race against the other person(s). Can you pull out your knife before they foul your draw and counter-attack? Can you finish an arm bar before they access their gun? Without position and control, we’re betting — and I like to stack the odds in my favor as much as possible.

Looking at every BJJ class through the ECQC / entangled fight lens helps me prioritize what I need to focus on, and what techniques may be transferrable to the ECQC environment.

I may add another BJJ class every week as ECQC approaches.

Midwest Region Shivworks Affiliate (MRSA)

Roughly once a month (holiday months excluded), Shivworks alumni and their guests meet to work on any Shivworks class material.

It’s a good opportunity to practice some of the things covered in class, as well as introduce the material for those who are taking a class in the future.

We’re meeting this Sunday, and hopefully we can squeeze in a few more before June.


In addition to the outstanding Landing the Plane class, I’ve been exercising my verbal agility at Jiu-jitsu and during the force on force training from QSI.

“Running your mouth” isn’t so bad if you have an idea of what you’re going to say already, and iterate through different scripts depending on what’s going on.

If you don’t already, I highly encourage you to have “tape loops” for things such as dealing with unknown contacts, communicating with 911 operators, and talking with responding law enforcement officers and/or bystanders.

I’ll continue to practice my verbalizations in the upcoming force on force classes leading up to ECQC.

Shooting Development

This is the least of my concern. Not to toot my own horn, but between the training from QSI, DTI, Suarez International, Shoot the Gun, Shivworks, and others I am pretty comfortable doing the shooting part of ECQC and have no plans to train specifically for the class.

I will say that the high pectoral index and the “flat” presentation from appendix carry have become my default technique for such situations, and I will continue to rep those techniques as much as possible before class.

All Roads Lead to ECQC

It has been said that ECQC is more of an audit than a class. This is true, especially for those of us who have taken it more than once. I look forward to seeing how I have progressed since last July, and see what I will need to work on for 2018.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

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