At NRA Carry Guard Expo, the extensive array of personal protection education and self-defense training goes far beyond just firearms and concealed carry. More than 120 free seminars and premium workshops taking place at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on September 14-16 will offer something covering just about every subject matter of interest.
Those looking to broaden their knowledge of and training with knives and other edged weapons should check out two presentations by subject matter expert (SME) Tom Kier. If you’re looking to purchase and carry an edged weapon or pocket knife, attend his free seminar, Understanding Edged Weapons, and learn simple methods to avoid common mistakes and how to control force, space and time in a dangerous situation.
For a comprehensive and hands-on training course, don’t miss his Edged Weapons for Everyday Carry workshop that will provide an understanding of combative edged weapons and how they can dovetail into your personal combative skill sets. Explore carry concepts, template work, the physiological response to and effects of edged weapons, and integrated combatives. Physically train the solutions to common situations and questions about the use and avoidance of combative edged weapons. Gain the skills and confidence you need to be prepared to carry and defend against edged weapons at this in-depth, professional training workshop.
Learn more about Tom Kier below, and make plans to join him at one of the Edged Weapons for Everyday Carry workshops: Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.; Saturday, 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.; or Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. This course consists of light physical and hands-on activity, and participants must be 18 years or older. Tickets are $75 each—click here to purchase yours today!
Q&A with Tom Kier
Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did your interest and expertise start and how did you get to where you are in your field today?
I've been involved in Martial Arts for nearly all of my life. I started out wrestling and shooting at a young age. To support my competitive wrestling, I looked at multiple other grappling arts including Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Chin Na and Sambo. As I got older I studied Kung Fu, Silat and Sayoc Kali as well. In my young adulthood I got into some competitive pistol and long range rifle, competing in 1000-yard benchrest. In my 20s I got into boxing, and I worked as security in multiple bars and nightclubs—which is where many of the martial arts that I had trained were tested.
I spent more than 15 years working and fighting as a result of all that training and experience. As I gained a higher rank in martial arts I began to travel the country and teach seminars in Sayoc Kali, an art which specializes in edged weapons. In the late ‘90s some members of the military approached me and ask if I would do training for them. I said I would, not realizing at the time that it would lead to a more than 20-year career training elite military and government personnel. As a result I have met many great people and trained in tactical pistol and carbine with many of the same men I taught combatives to, including Jeff Gonzales, Kyle Defoor, Bill Rapier, JD Potynsky and others. After the attacks on 9/11, I formed the Sayoc Tactical Group and began training our military and law enforcement as Director of Operations. We continue to provide training today.
Describe your experience in the role of teacher, trainer, mentor, or instructor. What have you learned about the community and lifestyle associated with personal protection?
I'm a teacher, trainer and instructor more importantly than a martial artist. Some people can fight but have a difficult time teaching or passing along that information. Teaching needs to be studied with devotion, and as a teacher involved in training personal protection, there is a great amount of responsibility. I feel personally responsible to every person who trains with me—they are counting on me to do the very best I can, and often their life depends on it. One thing I have learned over the last 30 years is that mindset is the most important element when it comes to training and should be taught first.
When and how did you first become familiar and involved with NRA Carry Guard? How does it fit into your overall support of the NRA and the Second Amendment?
I first heard about NRA Carry Guard through some of the friends that I train with. They are former military who are very serious about training, so I paid attention. I love that the NRA is taking such a decisive role in training and teaching. Education is a major part of keeping our Right to Bear Arms safe.
What do you find is one of today’s biggest threats to personal safety or individual freedoms?
I believe the biggest threat is the misinformation propagated by the anti-gun movement. I believe through education of our youth and spotlighting the misinformation put out there by the anti-freedom movements, the NRA can save our individual freedoms for the generations to come.
Can you share a story of how your training has directly impacted your life or the life of someone you’ve taught?
There have been multiple times in my life when I was able to step in and stop a crime that was being done to an innocent person on the street. In each of these cases I have been very thankful to my teachers for giving me the knowledge to stop these crimes—they were violent and required force to stop them. Of course over the years many people have come back to tell me of situations where the training made a difference for them. Some were law enforcement or military, but many were just regular people not engaged in a violent job but who found themselves thrust into a violent situation and needed an answer. Those are the ones that I most like to hear about.
What is a simple, but perhaps overlooked, aspect of personal protection that you recommend everyone consider?
Look to improve mindset first. Work on awareness—it doesn't take a physical workout. Study crime by researching videos available online. Train and carry tools for personal protection every day.
Tell us the top three reasons to attend your seminar or workshop at NRA Carry Guard Expo this year in Richmond, VA.
Reason 1: Edged weapons are common in society. Many people carry knives on them every day but have never trained with them.
Reason 2: An edged weapon is a great support tool for a pistol. In a weapon retention situation the blade is very strong.
Reason 3: Training in edged weapons enhances one's personal mindset—increasing the overall understanding of combatives and making them stronger—and stronger people are harder to kill.
More about Tom Kier:
Tom Kier is considered to be a subject matter expert (SME) by USSOCOM and holds a Master Instructor rank in Sayoc Kali, “The Art of the Blade,” with more than 27 years of training in the system. He also holds full instructor and senior instructor ranks in other combative systems and is adept in striking and grappling systems as well as weapon-based systems. As the Director of Operations for Sayoc Tactical Group (STG) he has trained military, law enforcement and government personnel for the last 20 years. As an instructor in concealed carry applications, he helped develop the comprehensive Integrated Combatives Program (ICP) for certain military and government clients in 2005. The (ICP) combines firearms, edged weapons, striking and grappling into a fluid and practical application of force. Tom continues to refine and develop the (ICP) for those interested in developing this capability.
When it comes to the concealed carry lifestyle, your education and training incorporates so much more than just firearms and self-defense tactics. Preparedness should extend from mindset to medical skills and touch on everything in between.
The single most important step toward ensuring your own safety is having a personal safety strategy in place before you need it.