Monday, February 22, 2010

Close Quarters Combat – and Me.

Our guest blogger yesterday talked about going to Montreal to eat smoked meat as part of her research. Last week John speculated that Robert Parker didn’t appear to do much research at all. I suspect that ties into my musings of a couple of weeks ago as to how writers did research without the Internet. (Probably a lot less than is the norm now.)

Sometimes research is the fun part.

Case in point: yesterday I learned Close Quarters Combat.

As I have mentioned before, I have several police contacts who help me a lot with the Molly Smith books. For my new project, which is about a much harder character than Molly, I need to be able to take her through a fight. Not just a bar brawl punch up, of the sort Smith finds herself in, but a fight to the death. One woman against a man with a gun and a killer dog.

So I contacted my police friend and asked if she knew someone who could give me a few pointers. Instead she came around to my house and gave me a crash course. Turns out my friend used to teach Officer Safety at Police College. First she led me through the principals of preparing for a confrontation. What to look for in your opponent’s actions, how to get into the mind-set, breathing control, heart rate. I explained my scenario and we went through it using the padded punching blocks she brought. I immediately understood that I looked pretty ineffectual, standing there with my fists all clenched and a fierce look on my face, square on to my opponent.
After she showed me how to stand correctly, I punched and kicked while she defended herself with the padded blockers. We did it again and again, and she walked me through it.

I might not be a formidable force out on the streets, but I can tell you that my character now is.

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