Doug Marcaida "To the Edge and Back" seminar (2022)

I just got home from this all day training event... wow, what an experience.

Unlike my firearms training, I never received formal knife or stick training during my military service. Honestly, other than basic military bayonet training and assault course, some basic combative in a pit, and a couple years of Army Combatives (simple Jiujutsu); I had only an idea of these 'arts'. I've made it a point since I retired to take a variety of training, and do some 'home study', and private study with friends experienced that know what they are doing.

Doug Marcaida "To the Edge and Back" seminar (1)


Doug Marcaida "To the Edge and Back" seminar (2)

Today was my most recent effort to fill the void. I spent all day with Doug and his assistant instructors taking his seminar. Let me say up front, I don't sell or promote anything. Thus far, I don't even charge for training I give to people; although they often insist on buying me lunch, or giving me ammo (usually to repay what they shoot of my ammo Doug Marcaida "To the Edge and Back" seminar (3)). So needless to say, I have no affiliation with Doug Marcaida, Funker Tactical or anyone else for that matter - other than I have paid for training and materials.

Doug Marcaida is an outstanding instructor. He's easy going, genuinely funny and really knows his stuff. His method is to show you something, tell you what he wants you to do, then you do it for a few minutes while he and his assistants walk around and make sure everyone is safe and doing what he asked you to do. That's pretty much it, over and over and over. Much of what he teaches are universal principles that can be applied to a sword, machete, knife, or open handed techniques. He frequently teaches in phases, each building to another level of complexity. Several times, especially later in the afternoon, we found ourselves a bit overwhelmed with the variety and complexity of techniques. But Doug is super easy going, and reinforces that you just get the principles and don't worry too much about being perfect; there are many 'right ways' of doing it. One of his favorite sayings is: as long as your are still hitting your doing it right. He also isn't full of himself and never once did I see his ego get in the way. In fact the opposite, he said several times during the day that some of the things he showed us was just because it was fun, and learning should be fun : still useful because it teaches body mechanics, but still fun. He even said once or twice he didn't know if a particular technique would actually work, but there was a reason for doing it.

No one in our class wore a gi ; but otherwise this is pretty much what it looked like:

Doug Marcaida "To the Edge and Back" seminar (4)

We didn't get many breaks. Actually, there were no breaks until lunch (:30 minutes). People would often just sit down while Doug was talking and demonstrating. You get thirsty or hungry, grab some water or take a bathroom break on your own whenever you can - big boy rules applied. Other than signing a waiver, there was no goofy lecture about not suing him or anyone else in the room. No over emphasis on safety. Nearly everyone used real ratan sticks (I had to buy a pair for the event) as about 60% of the class required them. Other training I've taken we used padded sticks, not here, we used the real deal. Mostly because of my many training partners I'm a bit more bruised than normal. I wasn't as exhausted as I was after every Krav session, and I didn't do any full contact on pads or with padded weapons/fists like MMA or the 'Dog Brothers' fighting. There was no ground work like jujitsu and no need to wear a cup or mouth piece (usually required for other training I've attended).

Doug explained and demonstrated that although we almost exclusively hit our opponents sticks, we should stand at the proper distance and actually be targeting (normally 1/4 speed and strength) our opponents hands, head or body. Even a light tap with a real stick across the hand is the 'take away technique'. There was a lot of keeping it real during the entire event. When there was a little fluff (some fancy technique, mostly for show; he called it giving us candy), Doug said so, and also said why it was still good to learn and how it could build confidence or lead to other, better techniques. One of his main concepts was hitting first. You might not get in the most powerful strike, but always be striking, even if its imperfect - offense beats defense.

Doug is taking/has firearms training; I do not know how much, and he didn't much mention firearms:

Doug Marcaida "To the Edge and Back" seminar (5)


Doug Marcaida "To the Edge and Back" seminar (6)

There were no warrior ethos speeches or chest thumping, just a solid concept of fighting hard and winning. Economy of motion was another principle; and I really liked the way Doug talked about how older masters moved alike. His warm up drills were functional drills that he would weave into the techniques he taught throughout the day. An absolute beginner could take this class and get as much out of it as a Kali practitioner.

I was invited by an understudy of the host clubs master dude. And I some how accidentally ended up partnering with another instructor from another club that teaches Maui Thai. This is my luck, oh well, only a few bruises. As a result of these factors, Doug spent a good amount of time in my corner; and demonstrated his techniques with me 1-1 numerous times. It really made a difference, he is truly an expert teacher. Not once did he put me in any jeopardy or use any more strength/speed than was exactly perfect to illustrate his techniques. With his fellow instructors, he sometimes took a little liberty and had a few minor 'oops' moments, but with students - he was always pitch perfect.

One of his better videos:

Here's what you want to know: I paid $75 for the best 6+ hours of stick training I've ever had. Yes the concepts apply to knife and open hand, but we did maybe 30% unarmed, and 10% - 15% with dummy knives. I am very glad I took the class, and I was invited to attend another seminar in a couple weeks; I almost certainly will not take any more stick/knife or other combative training any time soon. Although I strongly believe in having a decent foundation, and periodic refresher - I'm just not convinced its worth spending an entire day and paying money to learn the finer points of this method or that system. Hand any strong aggressive teenager a knife, he will instinctively know how to stab and slash; nothing will save you. Hand a 9 year old or a 90 year old a knife they are still dangerous. Not as strong, not as fast, but dangerous none the less. Same with a stick - very natural mechanics.

Basic fitness and athletics along with some good fundamentals weapons training and some periodic refresher is sufficient in my opinion. Firearms is another story, which requires much more training and more frequent refresher training. You miss hitting a bad guy with a slap, stick, or knife - no harm. You miss with a gun, and you might accidentally kill someone 50 yards away.

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