Torture Holiday

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One of the more remarkable out-takes from a recent interview I conducted for Blitz Martial Arts Magazine. 

How do you know Jim Armstrong?

Through martial arts circles. I’d heard of him; I’m also [involved in] combatives. I reached out to him when I wanted to bring Lee Morrison out from ‘Urban Combatives’ in 2012. [Jim] was into it. I flew down and met him in Melbourne; he’s a top bloke. We got on well. We’ve got a shared outlook.

I grew up in rough places. I’m not disillusioned by martial-arts-fancy-stuff; [combatives people are] realists. I know what works. I’ve studied different things. You take what you need and apply it to the street and to life.

How did you end up teaching at Jim’s ‘Raw Combatives’?

I came down and taught a workshop in field first aid. I’ve been in security in for sixteen, seventeen years. I’ve had a lot of practice in patching people up.

Jim said you also taught people how to escape from handcuffs and zip-ties.

Yeah, I’ve got an interest in escapology; how to escape from restraints, how to avoid capture. I taught people how to get out of duct tape, zip ties, handcuffs, and rope. It ties in with what we do.

‘Escapology’. Sounds like Harry Houdini.

I went to the US and trained there. It was a three-day course in escape and evasion. What it was, they spent the first two days teaching you how to escape from various kinds of restraints. Then, on the third day, there was a field exercise.

You start off handcuffed and blindfolded, in the back of a van with a hood over your head. They take you to an interrogation room and question you… you’re given a legend to stick to [beforehand]; a false profile. After that, you have to escape and flee through the streets of Santa Monica and Venice beach, avoiding kidnappers.

That’s intense!

Yeah, it was bloody awesome. They taser you, too.

Christ – what was that like?

Not as bad as when the Israelis hooked me up to a car battery.

Who the hell hooked you up to a car battery?

That was another course I did in Las Vegas, run by group of ex-Israeli army personnel. They hook you up to a car battery and give you a few jolts to get a sense of what it feels like.

…What does it feel like?

 Every muscle in your body forcefully contracts, even your eyelids. It’s exhausting, in addition to being very painful. It saps your will because it’s so hard to tolerate the pain when you’re being progressively drained.

Christ Almighty.

They water-boarded me, too.

…?!

It feels exactly like drowning. The water runs down your nose, down your throat; it’s a horrible feeling. They eventually teach you how to combat it; there’s a way to push your tongue against the back of your teeth that minimises it, but they don’t tell you that until you’ve had it four or five times, first.

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