The Well-Rounded Combat Medic Pt. 1

Last week I finished a block of instruction with a combatives school in Minnesota. Integrative Defense Strategies invited me out to give a class on active shooter trauma medicine to their class of level 6 instructor certification. In addition, Todd Fossey, owner and head instructor, asked if I’d like to stick around and participate in the training.

I, of course, stupidly said yes.

Everyone in the class was much more experienced than I am, they each own a Krav Maga gym and teach high level combatives on a regular basis. I’m a 2-month white belt in jiu-jitsu.

We started the course with grappling, a skill I’ve only recently been exploring on my own. The goal was to pair up with one of the other instructors and then take turns trying to get your partners SIRT training gun away so you can “kill” them with it.

Fossey introduces me to the class:

“Guys, this is Doc, he’ll be teaching the Active Shooter Trauma Class and he’s going to participate in the training.”

Then he stops, and points at each of them.

“I don’t want ANYONE going easy on Doc.”

Fossey turned with raised eyebrows in challenge. “You good with that Doc?” His eyes twinkle.

Every sphincter tightened, and I swallowed a sudden lump in my throat.

But also, an insane little voice somewhere deep in my guts started screaming “BRING IT ON!”

I grinned back wildly and nod my acceptance. “Time to figure shit out, Doc.” He says.

My massive overconfidence in my skills and abilities is both a weakness and a strength. Even as a kid I had a constant and undeserved expectation that I’m going to win no matter what.

This has gotten me into situations where, if I had an appropriate amount of confidence, if I truly understood what I was getting myself into, I wouldn’t be so eager. I never realize my mistake until I’m in too deep, and now I’ve gotta figure it out, or lose. And I hate losing.

One of the most important parts about learning to fight is: you lose A LOT. Over and over and over again.



You learn from warriors who are much more skilled, who teach you without mercy. They calmly choke and bend you into uncomfortable positions, then smile big knowing grins, and say “get better.” Because that’s how they got better. Because you learn how to fight, by fighting. You learn from failure, and a good training partner allows you to fail, to die a thousand deaths without being killed.

This is Warrior Culture. You are not coddled. Are you one of us? Let us see. Let us test you as we have been tested. Show us you have that same fire that lives in our guts and propels us toward great danger.

Opera Non Verba

Deeds, Not Words


  1. Leonard Hansen on August 29, 2023 at 11:56 am

    Nice job! I’ve experienced the same as you at IDS and it’s grueling but rewarding.

Leave a Comment