Sparrow Defense: Combatives Skills for Self Defense

On Sunday the 28th of June, I assisted with the Combatives class taught by Shane Gosa of CQB Services.
The AM training block was spent on unarmed techniques for self defense. Students were given a variety of striking techniques using their palms, fists, elbows, and knees. After some work with focus mitts and strike pads, students were required to deliver real strikes to Shane, who was dressed up in protective gear allowing him to absorb the punishment. In spite of the padding, he took some pretty solid blows that had his head ringing until well after class finished.

Following lunch, the class transitioned to offensive and defensive edged weapon techniques. The CQB Services coursework involves a very graphic exposure to the horrific wounds that edged weapons can inflict in even unskilled hands. Students were encouraged to bring the knife that they routinely carried for utility or defense so that they could learn the strengths and weaknesses of each. As you can see from the pictures, there was a wide assortment of knives for comparison.

Following the lecture, students engaged in exercises using training knives. They delivered various strikes to pads and to Shane, and also learned to deploy the weapon while under a variety of attacks.

The course culminated with each student having the chance to test the effectiveness of their knife against denim-encased flesh (in this case beef). The wound pattern of slashing, stabbing, and cutting attacks was compared, so students had a better idea of what to expect from their own gear.

For all but one of the students, this was a first time exposure to edged weapon combatives. There was a huge amount of material to go over, and most of it is by its nature disturbing. The energy of the class was great, and the small class size kept things moving right along.

My thanks to Shane Gosa for traveling to Watkinsville to put on the course and to the students for coming out on a Sunday to train.

A short video of some cutting techniques discussed during the class can be found HERE: (




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