Meet the Team: Adolfo Salas

Adolfo is the only certified Active Killer Defense instructor within the greater Atlanta area. He is also a Fit to Fight® Defensive Options Black Belt Instructor. He and his wife own and operate Fit to Fight Atlanta where they apply their unique approach to training. Some coaches and instructors from other local schools come to teach and learn from them how to apply aspects of that approach their school and chosen martial art.

Adolfo is known for incorporating the principles of other systems through collaborative efforts with those coaches and instructors to the Defensive Options program at Fit to Fight Atlanta. 

Adolfo has been training in various Defensive Options starting when was 16 years old. He is a graduate of Georgia Tech and is a full time mechanical engineer. He began formal training in martial arts in 2008 and has been teaching since 2009 in the Atlanta area. He has a strong following due to his easy personality, colorful analogies, and dedication to helping his students grow.

He does enjoy speaking and spending extra time with students before and after classes to review new techniques. Adolfo also spends time outside of class with former and current students for social events. He loves spending time training, being out on the range, and most of all with his family.

“Just Shoot ‘em”…Enough Already!

Anytime the subject of an unarmed response versus an armed killer in a school comes up, the inevitable, knee jerk, uninformed responses are as predictable as XXXXX They go something like this:

“Just shoot them.”
“Arm the teachers.”
“That’s why I carry.”
“Get your CCW.”
“Only a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun.”
“Bullet to the head.”
“You’re an idiot.”

Without fail, 98% of responses will be some derivation of these, and no matter how reasoned, impassioned, informed, or lucid the counter arguments are, the confirmation bias is so strong, they are disregarded out of hand. So, here’s my attempt to try and shine some light on the topic.

First, I have guns. I have had guns since it was legal for me to do so. I grew up around guns. I first shot when I was four years old. My grandfather owned a gun store. I have a makeshift range on my property. I’ve trained with the likes of Larry Vickers. A big part of our newest course includes armed responses in these events, when possible. I am VERY pro-gun when it comes to ownership in the US. I am very pro-self- defense, in general. I think if more good people would train and carry, we would all be safer.

This is not a gun issue.

TRAINING

Depending on the source, police "hits on target" are around 15% in a gunfight. They have to draw their weapons on a regular basis. Now, you have a teacher that is probably as likely to have to draw her weapon as she is to be struck by lightning and attacked by a polar bear in the same day, and if she does, she has kids running around all over the place. What do you suppose her success rate might be under those conditions? What are the odds she shoots a child or another teacher?

What sort of firearms training do you expect to get teachers, when most school systems aren't willing to even have a discussion about fighting back, unarmed? You want to choose six teachers in a school and train them as you would an Emergency Response Team? In that case, I say let’s go. I will do what I can to make that happen, but if your solution is to send any teacher that wants it through a simple CCW certification and encourage them to carry inside a school, I am not on board with that, and I think if you would ask most experienced shooters and firearms instructors, you would get a similar response.

CULTURE

Even though the vast majority of school systems have tepidly adopted RUN-HIDE- FIGHT, almost all of them ignore the last part of that tagline. We all know how to hide and how to run, and we have since a very young age, when it was encouraged in games. Fighting, while just as natural as the other two, has been mostly dissuaded since childhood. Therefore, very few adults know how to fight, especially in a situation like the one we are discussing here, and administrators, by and large, are unwilling to change this.

Again, do you think firearms training is something that is going to happen for teachers in our current environment? If you want to get them involved in some force-on-force scenarios, where hitting paper at seven yards is not the milepost, and you can get admins and legislators to sign off, I say let's go, but...

REALITY

Ultimately, while I am all for having armed and WELL TRAINED staff, I am dealing with the reality that we live in, and that reality, at this time, does not only not have armed teachers, that reality does not even want a discussion about it. So, save your bluster, your bloviating, your grandstanding platitudes, and get with the real world. If you want to actually make schools safer, let’s admit that what is currently being done is grossly inefficient and needs immediate and massive reform.

Let’s recognize that four times as many unarmed citizens have stopped active shooter events than armed ones. If the culture is not ready for armed teachers, then let’s recognize and acknowledge that, and let’s give them options that might be more palatable to the powers that be and continue working towards a more complete approach to school safety.

As long as one side screams that “only a gun will stop a gun” and this idea of an unarmed response is “stupid”, and the other side screams that we should simply “ban all guns” or that we “need more locks/cameras/buzzers/etc.”, then absolutely nothing will be accomplished. I am willing to (continue) doing my part. What about you?

Five Reasons You Need Active Shooter Defense Training

After Sandy Hook, Fit to Fight®, through its Safer Campus Now program, started offering active shooter defense training, at no charge, to anyone that worked in a school system.  Since then, it has been our mission to not only train as many educators and related employees as possible, but to train anyone that was willing to take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others. This idea was the reason we began Active Killer Defense.  While overall gun violence in the US is down, incidences of mass shootings are on the rise.  If that is not enough to convince you that this training is vital, perhaps these five reasons will get you there. 

1)  If you’re there, you’re the first responder.  According to the document, Active Shooter:  How to Respond, produced by the US Department of Homeland Security:

Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

 What this means is, individuals on the scene of an active shooter event do not have the luxury of waiting for law enforcement.  In 83% of active shooter incidences, the event is ended by force.  If more individuals are trained to deal with these events, the shooter can be neutralized faster, saving lives.  This is exactly what we saw on a train in France last year, when three US servicemen tackled an assailant armed with an AK-47, pistol and knife.  No one was shot and likely dozens were saved.

2)  Training builds confidence in your ability to do something, should it be necessary.  Many instructors often talk about natural human responses to violence or impending violence, boiling it down to “fight or flight”.  These responses, given the proper context, are great and are hard wired into our DNA.  However, there is one “F word” missing:  freeze. 

Without proper training to prepare us for the extreme stress that will accompany an attack such as this, freezing, not responding at all, is not only possible but also likely.  By subjecting training participants to realistic training scenarios and establishing precedence for success in training, freezing is significantly less likely to occur.

3)  Training creates “target-free zones”.  According to Attack Countermeasures Training Institute, High Impact Targets typically share five characteristics:  visibility, feasibility, predictability, complacency, and vulnerability.  The profile of the mass shooter in the US is not one of a warrior.  He is not someone looking for a fight but rather body count.  He chooses an elementary school or a movie theater, because he wants (and expects) little to no resistance. 

If schools, companies, and individuals embrace and even publicize such training, such measures will go a long way to reducing or at least mitigating some or all of the five High Impact Target characteristics.  If that happens, public places typically crowded with the most vulnerable members of our society will become less palatable to cowards looking to do damage.

4)  You owe it to your family and your community.

You likely have several or all of these:  life insurance, car insurance, homeowner’s/renter’s insurance, dental insurance, health insurance, flood insurance, et al.  You, your family, your co-workers, and anyone else that you regularly spend time with probably know what to do in the event of a fire or a tornado, for example. 

We spend considerable time and resources on events that may or may not happen; yet most schools and workplaces devote little to no time to dealing with violence.  If you visit a school today, you will see fire exits, fire alarms, fire sprinklers, fire escape routes, and fire extinguishers.  Every student will be drilled and well-versed on what to do in the event of a fire, even though no student has died in a public school in the US in the past 50 years.  By contrast, almost no resources are devoted to dealing with school violence, even though between 2005 and 2010 alone (according to the CDC), 228 deaths, due to violence, occurred on school grounds.

In other words, if not you, who?

5)  Run.Hide.Fight is a tagline, not a strategy.

Thanks to the Houston Mayor's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security Department, most government entities and many private companies have access to a video titled "Run.Hide.Fight. Surviving an Active Shooter Event".  The video is well produced, and the concepts enumerated in it have been widely accepted, but it pretty much ends there. 

The real problem is, the overwhelming majority of us have known how to run and how to hide, since a very young age.  Those are skills developed, honed, and encouraged in games and in sports.  It’s the last one, “fight”, where we run into a bit of a problem.  Not only do most of us not know how to fight, it has been discouraged and even prohibited throughout our lives.  Now schools and companies have government agencies including it as one of three options when dealing with an active shooter event, but no one is training our teachers, principals, janitors, front desk personnel, students, or co-workers HOW to actually do it.  It is in this area that Active Killer Defense Class can help.

With proper training, Run.Hide.Fight can be the difference in you, your family, your students, your co-workers, etc., surviving an active shooter event, or it can be a catchy tagline that offers a false sense of security, no more effective than locking the door or turning off the lights.  The choice is yours.

Ultimately, the only real variable you control in life is you and how you spend your time.  For the most part, you cannot control whether you will be on the scene of something like an active shooter event.  What you can affect, and the variable that is wholly within your control, is whether or not you spend a few hours to prepare for such an event, no matter how unlikely it is.  In the grand scheme of things, maybe it is worth spending a little less time on Facebook, a little less time at the coffee house, a little less time binge watching, and giving just a few hours to learning a skill that could save one, two, dozens or even hundreds of lives.

Find an Active Killer Defense Class in your area.