The place was South Central Tennessee and it was a sunny day in April 2009. I was out in the boonies at a clearing, with about ten gentlemen. We were there for the purpose of honing our firearm and personal self-defense skills with a specialist and trainer who is a master of such things. I sat on a sandy hillside, waiting my turn. First my buns itched, then my lower back. By the time my torso was itching, only seconds later, I knew what I had done. I stood up and did a country cousin square dance with two left feet, minus a partner or music, and lacking any discernable rhythm.
"Fire ants!," someone yelled.
Darn right it was fire ants. Since I didn’t fancy the thought of peeling off my clothes and streaking butt-naked through a crowd of ten men, some of whom I had just met, I sprinted for the woods to ditch behind some cover and disrobe. Since the invaders had, by that time, occupied every nook and cranny of my person, it took awhile to rid myself of the unsolicited invaders. Afterwards, streaking jokes were tossed around and it all seemed funny, but the memory is making me itch while I write this article.
The fire ants weren’t Michael Gaddy’s fault, however.
LewRockwell.com columnist and Special Forces veteran Michael Gaddy traveled to Tennessee to train a group of fine folks — all from the same small community — some essential self-defense tactics. I received an invitation to attend this event, and my ten-hour drive to Tennessee, each way, was well worth the instruction I received. I’ve done a lot of different types of training, but I knew this was going to be different.
Often, people make the mistake of thinking they can just have a loaded pistol on a nightstand and a rifle standing in the corner and they’re good to go. Not true. Individuals must be mentally prepared as well as proficient in the use of their firearms. You owe it to yourself to seek additional, specialized training to develop a mindset of preparedness and preservation. That’s where a top-notch instructor comes into play. You should seek a mentor who will teach you the mental preparation aspects of self-defense as well as the act of mastering your firearm(s). A one-on-one session, or a session with a small group of people, is invaluable for receiving personal insight and understanding where you are in terms of vigilance. Gaddy ran our small group through a series of drills over two days, and he schooled his trainees to think about and deal with various real-life scenarios and potential weaknesses. We practiced shooting behind barriers, shooting without using the sights, and using our weak hands, and these are all things that a lot of folks don’t think about often enough. We also rehearsed the act of picking out friendly vs. enemy targets under pressure. We created ways to raise our heartbeat (running sprints) before shooting to try and simulate the adrenaline rush that someone in the act of self-defense will experience.
Perhaps some of the most valuable guidance you can procure from a solid instructor comes during an informal question-and-answer period that allows you pick an experienced mind. It is often difficult to get top-flight training that is not loaded with politically correct talking points and government licensing propaganda. I’ve been fed this nonsense before. Michael Gaddy didn’t waste our time with such phooey. The right to defend oneself is a natural right and thus it does not come from the permission of any government or licensing body. Gaddy reflects the sort of philosophy that you’d expect from a popular and relentless freedom activist.
In addition, a person who is truly pro-liberty will not waste your time telling you to email your congressman. Due to the fact that there is currently no support for gun control legislation in Congress, the president of the United States is pushing an international treaty that will bypass Congress and can be ratified with Senate approval. This treaty seeks to disarm Americans. The regime in power is desperate to commence absolute gun control and will do so in any manner possible. Now is the time to prepare to resist any such maneuver.
Mr. Gaddy, a son of the Confederacy, spent thirty years in the Army and served in Vietnam (three tours), Beirut, and Grenada. He also spent some years at the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Pentagon. Thus he has a wee bit of real-world experience to pass on to his trainees. Overall, attending Gaddy College in Tennessee was a splendid experience. Besides meeting some fine, local patriots who will be my friends for life, I was able to work with a small group of eager participants along with a gentleman whose incredible body of knowledge and hands-on experience was an open book for all of us. Sure, training at places like Front Sight, Gunsite, etc., might offer up some terrific rewards, but I have found that nothing can really replace the value of one-on-one training or small-group training with someone whose philosophy is solidly in the libertarian and anti-state camp.
On our last evening in Tennessee, I managed to pull one over on Gaddy. That evening, a group of us headed to the riverbank, and the only available transportation was a group of 4-wheelers. Gaddy and I, both Harley riders, didn’t know a dang thing about those machines. They had two wheels too many, and it took a ten-year-old to show me where the throttle was located. But we learned with an express lesson from that delightful, homeschooled child, and all was well.
Poor Mr. Gaddy got stuck "riding bitch" on my 4-wheeler on the way back from the river. All in good fun, of course. But definitely a Kodak moment.