I am often asked, “Why do you prefer the RedMan gear over other types of protective gear?”
I usually reply by asking how long do have to listen to my answer. Over the last three decades of using RedMan training gear, I have found more than 101 ways to use it. However, there is only one reason I continue using it: with Redman gear, I can not only evaluate an officer’s skill level, but also the validity of a specific technique in the actual environments they will be demanded to perform the technique or tactics. I’m able to not only conduct my training through static level performance exercises, but build them into full scale “fight for life,” physical encounters. And do it in actual environments officers will be faced with and need to perform these techniques in.
Training conducted only in the gym under controlled, non-stressful situations causes the officer to be trained to think (and make decisions) only in these controlled and safe environments. When I conduct training, I want to be able to do dynamic and stressful exercises that place the officers into the actual environments they’re likely to experience on the street. This includes escalating the intensity without compromising students’ safety.
Types of Blunt Trauma Injuries
1. Direct Trauma: This is a trauma that is directly focused into the training gear from a hand, elbow, knee, or leg strike, or from the training baton.
Example: A student loading their elbow or knees to strike the instructor inside the instructor suits, targeting the upper chest area. If the gear is inadequate, this exercise could result in serious bodily injury.
2. Indirect Direct Trauma: This is blunt force trauma the indirect contact or secondary contact from glancing blows from empty hands, elbows, knees, or leg strikes, or from the training baton used to impact the instructor who is wearing the protective gear.
Example: Student loading their elbow to strike, executing an elbow strike to the upper chest area (this is a powerful strike when done correctly), however their elbow strike glances off and skips off the intended target area of the upper chest and strikes the instructor in their lower chin area.
3. Environmental Trauma: This is nothing more than the direct contact from the surrounding area; after a receiving a strike which causes the instructor or student wearing the training gear to fall on the ground, or against the wall, or into a table, or other hard surface objects, like doors, door knobs, curbs, railings, car doors, etc.
I constantly tell trainers and students alike: “Always pad up what will get hit, pad up what might get hit, and while you’re at it, pad what you might hit in the surrounding environment.”
When you’re setting the stage for any simulation, exercise, or drill safety is the number one concern. This safety extends to the instructors, our role players, your safety coaches, and students in the exercise, and includes protection against injuries they make get from the environment as much as from each other.
Conducting your scenarios in real-world settings takes some time, patience, planning, thought, and consideration. Conducting a site survey in the area is a must. This enables you to document all unsafe objects, sharp corners, and other objects that can create injury. For example, unstable footing, holes in the ground, and uneven surfaces need to be marked and covered.
If you are conducting exercises in a facility in which you’ve got hard tables and chairs (such as you might find in a suspect holding area), you can pad up those surfaces as well as padding your students. You can only really do this if you’re using training gear that is modular in design and allows for little innovation (not to mention duck tape). If your scenarios are in parking lots with parked cars, you can pad up bumpers, parts of car doors, and exterior windows and mirrors. But remember: padding the area is NOT a substitute for safety coaches!
When I conduct training in the water and other combat programs the right kind of training gear not only provides the safety from the blunt trauma to the body but also works as an additional floatation device. This allows me to conduct full force on force scenarios in the water from using empty hands to evade and escape from attackers in the water, but also the more direct blunt force trauma from the knees, kicks and impact from the water.
Special note: When training in the water the instructor-to-student ratio is one safety coach for every student in the water. You will also want to make sure everyone has safety goggles to protect the eyes from any debris that floats on, or become slightly submerged in, the water.
Just like you had done in a parking lot or indoor scenario, you can achieve the needed protection on top of docks, various decks, and even boats (with or without engines), when you pad up those surfaces with the right kind of training gear. Using this technique, I have conducted numerous water defense programs with the level of intensity of a real world attacks, all without injury.
If you’re going to simulate crowd management or you want to use multiple subjects as role players, you need to have enough training gear for every participant. This will allow you to use riots shields, tactical gear, and training props and create the actual situation to prepare your officers to be “calm under chaos.”
In my opinion, the main purpose for wearing the RedMan training gear is twofold:
1.) to safely protect the person wearing it from direct blunt force trauma, indirect blunt force trauma, and environmental blunt force trauma from injuries that can occur when conducting high levels simulations,
2,) to give the student the learning platform to conduct their training in real-world environments the officer will be faced with when it really counts.
In my view, RedMan gear provides a multi-level learning platform that allows the total learning experience and ensures that your officers are battle ready.