That’s What She Said: 2017 A Year in Review

| December 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

If I had to choose one word to describe 2017 it would be this: Transitional

While the world at large roiled with transition, my training life did too. I cautiously began exploring the steps to becoming an instructor, something I take very seriously. I made close-quarters a priority, and I shifted my focus away from the gun and onto the proper application of other self defense options like knives and OC sprays. Finally I began managing the social media presence of our local training group: QSI.

My family life transitioned, and I knew that my training life needed to follow. I stepped away from my mentoring and media work with QSI to be home more weekends. I tried to keep up with writing. I have several articles in queue that I hope will see the light of day after January of 2018, but for now my focus must be elsewhere.

Training Hours 2017

  • Range Safety Officer/instructor development: 56 hours
  • BJJ 2-3 hours per week from January to July
  • ECQC: 20
  • AMIS: 20
  • VCAST: 24
  • Saps & Jacks: 4
  • BJJ w/Cecil Burch: 20
  • Practical Small Knives w/Chris Fry: 20
  • Advanced Handgun: 8
  • Advanced Rifle: 8

RangeMaster Tac Con: 10.5 

  • Between a Harsh Word and a Gun – Chuck Haggard
  • Keep your Piece – Fletch Fuller
  • Street Encounter Skills – John Murphy
  • Terrorist Bombers – Greg Elefritz
  • Multiple Opponents – Paul Sharp
  • Violent Criminal Actors – William Aprill
  • Just Enough Jitsu – Cecil Burch
  • Hand to Hand for Women – Larry Lindenman

190.5 Hours 

Top 3 of 2017

  1. Hand to Hand for Women with Larry Lindenman of Point Driven Training

This class delivered the highlight moment of my year. Larry is a member of the ShivWorks Collective. When I went to this block at the RangeMaster Tac Con I was curious about what a woman specific ShivWorks class would look like. I anticipated a low-impact version of Managing Unknown Contacts.

I was NOT expecting anyone to broach the topic of purse carry.

Larry began by asking the ladies how they carry their handbags. As one woman demonstrated the cross-body technique that is often recommended for retention, Craig Douglas quietly snuck behind her and deftly lifted the bag off of her body.

That single moment said more than all of the words written on purse carry this year.

For 2018 I would love to see more classes for women that encourage stress testing of some of these sacred cows and rabbits feet that we are sold. Lets try to retain and access some blue guns in belly bands, purses, lacy wraps, and leggings. Lets try doing all of that while grounded, in a car and on the move. Lets ask the companies who peddle these things why THEY aren’t more vigorously testing them and push them to do better by the consumers they are targeting.

2. Cardio

But not for the reasons you might think. While I was putting in the work on LSD, I found myself with a shitload of time on my hands. In the middle of one of my first 60 minute stints on a stationary bike I was struggling to stay engaged and considering cutting my time short out of sheer boredom. In an effort to stay with it, I started keeping mental notes of how people navigated the transitional space between their cars and the club.

In general the members who maintained awareness of their surroundings entering and exiting the club were males who carried little to nothing in their hands. Their heads were almost always up and looking around.

In general the members who were the least attentive to what was going on around them had several things in common. They all had too many things in their hands. Bags, water bottles, phones, keys, baby carriers, sunglasses,yoga mats, often multiples of all of these. Having their hands full interfered with their ability to open doors. It meant that their heads were always down trying to manage the items, which in turn led them to walk into people, lose track of their young children, and pause in high traffic areas like doorways. The more stuff people had, the less they were able to control any of it. It became a game for me to think of all of the ways a predator could take their bags, phones and children.

I watched how each member prepared to exit to the parking lot. The most aware tended to pause at the counter by the exit to corral their belongings and ready their keys. The least prepared were on their phones and already thinking about what they needed to do next rather than staying in the moment and being aware.

None of this is probably groundbreaking, but it did serve to make me personally more present as I navigated transitional spaces. For 2018 I will renew my efforts to engage my son when we shop and walk together. I hope that employing him as my partner in noticing will lay a foundation of awareness as he grows older.

3. Car-Jitsu

VCAST was my most rewarding class of the year. I made some really REALLY stupid mistakes. I showed some terrible judgement in my scenarios. I also got some incredible feedback on what I did wrong and how I can be better.


I don’t know what I did to deserve the honor of working with, and meeting the exceptional people in MRSA, QSI, and all of the readers who have reached out with encouragement and advice, but I am certain that it will take me a lifetime to repay it. Because of you I have grown in ways I’ve never thought possible.

I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings to us all.

About the Author:

The She-Shepherd The She-Shepherd is a defensive firearms student, mother and advocate for pushing the boundaries of how we train. She believes that defensive training must balance context, mindset, and skill to be most effective. Her specialty has become testing alternative modes of firearms carry and best practices of less than lethal force options through rigorous force-on-force scenario based training.

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