Last weekend we went to the combat trauma emergency medical course in Kortrijk Belgium.
Here’s a short summary.
Why do you train Systema? I like to be able to defend myself and certain others, not just for the fun of it, but to be able stay alive and as healthy as possible. As such, doing some first aid courses seemed logical. In the Netherlands these are mostly aimed at office environments, with a focus on sprained ankles and heart attacks. These skills are also very useful, but as Jeff and Kirill (instructors) showed us in a time span of two minutes, probably not good enough for more violent conditions.
But what can you learn in only two days? With the right instructors, a lot apparently. The course started with a surprise exercise, which made it clear what kind of situation you might end up in. For me, this made it quite clear how frustrating (to put it mildly) it is going to be when something serious happens and all the help you can offer is holding someones hand. And even though I had no hesitation to rush to the scene, I did it with a somewhat ignorant attitude towards my own safety. First lessons: mind your own safety, stress really does interfere with your performance and ehm I don’t know what I should do.
Why did I not know what to do? My first aid classes did not teach me what to do or expect with injury resulting from violent attacks involving guns, knifes or bombs. What kind of trauma can you expect? What to do in what order and how much time do you have? What can you use when you have nothing on you? In terms of safety, what should you pay attention to and how? What kind of nasty scenes might you run into and what difficult choices might you have to make?
Not only did Jeff and Kirill manage to give as much answers as our minds and bodies were able to absorb in a weekend, they made it clear that learning does not have to end with the weekend. So I want apologize to my co-workers beforehand for putting tourniquets on them and making them put them on me.
Big thanks to Jeff and Kirill for teaching us and the patience to answer all our questions and to Koen for organizing another good seminar!