Students at one of Blade Tactical’s Knife Tactics courses learn different stabbing and slashing movements with knives on stationary foam blocks.
Former Navy SEAL Chris Caracci (left) shows students how to stop an incoming blow with a blade.
Caracci is a proponent of force-on-force-style training where students have to improvise to win.
Caracci focuses on folding knives because they’re easy to carry concealed in a purse or pocket.
Caracci’s students leave more confident in their abilities to protect themselves at all times.
“…my goal is to teach people to survive—no matter what.”
An attack can come at any second in multiple ways. Some attacks are expected and predictable while others are a surprise and require a trained reaction to survive. Either way, bad things happen to good people, and women are often targeted. For women, proper preparation and training can spell the difference between success and failure.
Understanding a combative environment is the first step toward learning how to survive almost any situation. The combat “gap” is the one that lies between two adversaries. Within this gap exists some time and distance that you can either use to win or fail and lose. Every action and reaction is critical, and it’s important to understand what works and what doesn’t.
When a weapon enters this equation, be it a knife, gun or improvised weapon, the choices narrow, and your ability to think and execute can be the tactical edge. “In SEAL training, the tactics used in close-quarters battle, or CQB, are designed to be simple and effective,” said former U.S. Navy SEAL and police officer Chris Caracci. “Learning and using those tactics against any type of an attack can be an effective way to win. And that’s what this is all about—winning—which is what I want to help others learn, to survive in any situation.”
According to Caracci, “Force-on-force training is one of the linchpins of combative training today. It is the most fundamental way to teach an individual how to survive in close-in combat situations.
“The one thing that is often overlooked or under-appreciated in use-of-force situations is the use of alternative-force methods that could win a situation without the reliance on tools, especially when it comes to women thrust into a combative environment. They need a different set of tools to protect and defend themselves but often don’t have the time to learn, so we compensate for that.”
Blade Tactical is a training-oriented school focused on Caracci’s use of alternative-force techniques to teach students how to survive almost any situation in the real world and online, armed or unarmed.
Caracci’s first point: “I can teach someone the skills to survive a life-and-death struggle in a matter of minutes. No strength, just smarts. It’s truly about understanding the physiology and psychology of the human animal.
“Distance is a powerful tactical tool, and if you can maintain that distance, it gives you options, but what I try to do is not teach just a technique, but also include real-world methods of practice for non-warriors and busy people,” said Caracci. “People often cannot react until they orient. This buys you time and helps to distinguish intent, so distance and timing, although critical, become more of a secondary factor to realizing the value of orientation.
“Developing fundamentals—constants if you will—are the keys to proper techniques, for these are the elements that are effective and do not change. One of the most important fundamentals is the mind—yours and your opponent’s. Learning awareness, how to control your fear and focus are essential elements of survival.
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“In this case where I have a very short time to help someone learn a technique needed to save their life, and they don’t have a weapon or even special training and have only a matter minutes to survive, we may focus on a single technique to a vulnerable area,” said Caracci.
Multiple studies have shown that movement can be your friend in a close-in encounter, and getting off-line is a lifesaving maneuver, which is one of many things Chris teaches in his classes. According to Caracci, “While many think a step to your right or left is simplistic, all too often people stay in a linear configuration, either out of fear or some macho inclination, and don’t move. Simply moving out of an adversary’s path of travel can give you an advantage—either to avoid the adversary or strike back.
“It’s like a car coming at you. Why just stand there? Move out of its way, and that could save your life. Also, non-traditional movements—lateral or placing an object between you and an adversary—puts the advantages back in your favor. So move.”
“What I wanted to do was take past experiences and combine them with real-world knowledge to create protocols that anyone can learn and use to survive,” said Caracci. “With Blade Tactical, we are able to synergize lessons learned from a myriad of persons and locations and tailor our course toward making the trainee a successful as possible.”
Caracci has become known for his hands-on and unique teaching style. “What I try to do is give the student, especially women, some real-world background for the technique I might be teaching them, then give them some real-world application scenarios to train around.”
In Caracci’s classes, the students are set up to succeed from the start. “I don’t want people to leave defeated,” said Caracci. “I want everyone who comes through one of my classes to take away tools that will help them in life and on the streets. Sometimes it’s the simplest teaching point that means the most. Regardless, my goal is to teach people to survive—no matter what.”
Blade Tactical’s “Self Defense” classes are designed for everything from an individual to corporations. “When we gear the classes towards women, we teach them how to protect themselves and their loved ones. Our motto of ‘don’t be a victim’ resonates during the class,” said Caracci. These courses are designed to teach basic situational awareness, basic defense and how to egress safely out of dangerous situations, including thinking outside the box. “In any situation, having a basic plan and the ability to communicate the plan is key to survival and the protection of the loved ones around you.”
Another course Chris teaches as an edged weapons master is “Knife Tactics,” which is one of his favorites. As he put it, “A knife is one of the most common weapons out there, and it’s easily carried in a purse or pocket. We teach the women that take the class that they can handle a knife and, using our tactics, can always have a weapon to protect and defend themselves. You will gain confidence in your ability to control situations, utilize environments and defend against bigger, stronger opponents. The goal of these courses is for students to reach a comfortable and confident level of basic knife self-defense, carry and handling, and retention.”
In our increasingly unstable world, being safe while traveling is key. “Americans are increasingly being targeted around the world. Our ‘Travel Safety’ class helps individuals become expert travelers and to be prepared for any situation,” said Caracci. The course teaches students how to safely navigate the world, properly secure electronic devices and backup identification documents, and understand international laws.
Another course, “Cyber Safety,” was designed “to give basic and advanced levels of awareness for children, young adults, parents and professionals. Blade Tactical gives hands-on training and exposure to the latest techniques in personal/corporate security, privacy, policy awareness and the mitigation of social media and online pitfalls.”
Mind Over Matter
“No matter what techniques someone knows or what weapons they can access, if their head is not in it, they will fail to execute. In the end, the most important weapon is by far the mind and your ability to control it. That is what Blade Tactical tries to instill in students right along with all physical aspects. This is essential to success and survival. This should be studied so much more,” said Caracci.
Whatever you are looking for and whatever security challenges face our world, Blade Tactical and Chris Caracci can become a one-stop shop for learning skills that can take you from tactical to practical.
For more information, visit bladetactical.com.
This article was originally published in ‘Personal & Home Defense’ Spring 2017. To order a copy, please visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
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