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FORCE ON FORCE FOR CIVILIANS: Sign up today for Critical Threat Management August 27 & 28 near Bloomington, IL

August 2, 2016



Comprehensive Force-on-Force training for civilians to avoid, or if necessary, overcome a violent attack



Put a little stress on people and all manner of mistakes start popping out… That’s what we’re there for, to help you learn and manage those stresses so you can perform better under pressure.


GSL Defense Training’s Critical Threat Management course integrates multiple layers of practical, defensive tactics to help keep you and your loved ones safer.

We’ll teach you how to stay off a bad guy’s “potential victim” radar by teaching you advanced situational awareness techniques and proper behaviors to discourage potential bad guys.

If that fails and you have the misfortune of being involved in a life threatening encounter with a criminal predator, you will need a whole different set of skills and experiences than are available from even the best concealed carry class, or any day at the range.

Criminal attacks can take the form of attempted armed robbery, battery, home invasion or a mugging.  It could be that you’re the lucky victim for a young gang member to get a promotional opportunity.

Acting competently and responsibly when things start to go sideways and you’re under stress and scared is tough.  With cutting edge force-on-force training, these dangerous and stressful situations are much less so and your chances of a successful outcome go way, way up.  Yes, this type of training can be uncomfortable, emotional, challenging – and at times just plain scary.  Force-on-Force training is not something that most people will want to do, but the skills we’ll teach you will help you prevail by either avoiding a confrontation or using force appropriately and justifiably when avoidance isn’t possible.

Remember, you don’t chose to be a victim.   You can choose to make yourself a hard target to better protect yourself and your loved ones from harm.

This class is designed to help you understand the behaviors of those wanting to do you harm.  By identifying those signs and signals, you can take action to remove yourself from their victim pool consideration.  You’ll learn the signals you are sending out to potential predators and the signals you should be sending out.

You’ll learn three areas where you will be most likely to be attacked, and things you can do to make yourself safer in those places.  We’ll show you how to look after your safety and and the safety of loved ones around you.

GSL Defense Training’s Force-on-Force class offers you exactly our name – defensive training – in context and in a way that everyone involved can be safer in life.  Our force-on-force training is tailored to civilians and civilian scenarios, although we’re having increasing numbers of law enforcement officers taking the class of late as well.

Guns Save Life and GSL Defense training are separate organizations.  While we operate independently of one another, we share the goals of getting good, cutting-edge training into the hands of good people.  And we’re proud to offer one of the best civilian force-on-force classes in the nation right here in Central Illinois – easily accessible to folks from Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis and beyond.




What does Force-on-Force training offer?  Proven Results!

Force-on-Force allows safe moving and shooting while interacting with both innocents and bad guy threats.  The bad people are real, thinking people, scattered among innocents, exhibiting subtle bad guy characteristics and behaviors.  These are not stationary paper targets as you find on a square range – and they can “hurt” you through Airsoft pellet strikes that will get your attention.

Just like bad guys in the wild, they don’t wear prison uniforms or signs announcing they are “bad guys”.  The good news is that when you’ve learn to recognize overt behaviors, as well as subtle pre-violence indicators and pre-incident cues, you’ll soon see how bad guys may as well have a sign on their chest that says “I’m up to no good”.

We get proven results helping people with this course.  You’ll love how it gives you confidence to avoid trouble and keep yourself and your family safer.

GSL Defense Training’s Critical Threat Management course offers:

Stress inoculation

  • Familiarizes you with your body’s reaction as you experience fear and anxiety
  • Experience with the physiological and psychological changes: diminished coordination, tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, tachypsychia (altered perception of time), cognitive dissonance (remembering things out of order), selective memory loss, and other effects of stress
  • Help you make tailor your actions to complement your body’s natural reactions to threats
  • Help you to master some control of fear and anxiety so you can perform with confidence.

Mental preparation

  • Creates mental “note cards” or experiences to draw on
  • How to handle stressful situations, witnesses, injured victims, law enforcement, media, and more
  • Instills self-confidence that you can better handle a real-life confrontation if it’s unavoidable.

Mindset issues

  • Never give up!
  • Learn a command presence and proper body language
  • Predators, sheep and sheep dogs



  • Use of sound tactics in the form of concealment, cover, and movement
  • The importance of movement
  • De-escalation and disengagement (!!)
  • Effective carry techniques
  • Importance of maintaining reactionary gap
  • Communication skills

Enhanced situational awareness

  • Identifying and avoiding problematic people, places and things
  • Pre-violence indicators
  • Pre-assault cues
  • Situational awareness strategies

Interactions with perpetrators,witnesses, responding police officers, and the media


Gun Handling and Concealed Carry

You will see what works and doesn’t in gear and clothing, carry techniques and positioning of gear.  Students will be encouraged to “carry” in this course as they plan to carry in everyday life.

One-handed, instinctive shooting and shooting on the move 

Live fire!


Unarmed self-defense tactics taught by Krav Maga instructor

  • Mindset
  • Weapon retention
  • Counter-chokes
  • Strikes, including pre-emptive strikes
  • The “Fence”


Dynamic critical thinking




The bottom line

This course will test your critical decision-making and personal defense skills early on, with  stress-filled scenarios against real-life adversaries. We will use airsoft guns to provide adrenaline-charged stress similar to what one might encounter in a real-life experience. Students will learn proven tactics and problem-solving skills.

Also included among the lesson plan:

  • Live-fire segment (~150 rounds) to implement & refine new skills using live fire
  • De-escalation & disengagement techniques
  • Mindset considerations
  • Situational awareness strategies
  • BONUS:  Unarmed defense techniques taught by Krav Maga instructor
  • Much more…

Students will have a second try at some scenarios similar to those initially faced, along with others, giving them an opportunity to integrate new skills and tactics to live and navigate the best possible outcome.



High quality training at a value price

Training days with GSL Defense Training includes:

  • No range fees
  • Live fire of about 150 rounds to implement and practice new skills
  • Safety equipment
  • Loaner firearms & gear if needed
  • Loaner airsoft guns & safety gear
  • Lunch, snacks and drinks both days
  • And much more

Limited quantities of ammunition in 9mm and .38 Special will be available for purchase during the class for an additional cost.


Prerequisites:  None.  We recommend prior training in the safe handling of firearms, but it’s not mandatory.

This class will involve physical contact with others and mild physical exertion.  As always, participate as your abilities allow.  We’re more interested in you learning mindset and avoidance strategies, along with de-escalation tactics than we are that you can do burpees, pushups or run a six-minute mile.

Tuition:  $275/person.

Class Location:  Timber Pointe Outdoor Center in Hudson, IL, just north of Bloomington, IL. A map and directions, along with hotel recommendations will be sent with class welcome materials after registration has been received.

Overnight accommodations available.  We will have overnight accommodations available, dormitory-style bunking (with modern restroom facilities and a kitchenette) Saturday evenings for $25/person.  Bring your pillow and a sleeping bag and bunk in an air-conditioned (or heated, depending on conditions) cabin.  Contact us ahead of time about this option.  The camp is picturesque, quiet and beautiful.


Course dates remaining

  • August 27-28, 2016  (Currently room for you and your 16 closest friends)
  • October 8-9, 2016


Registration form.

Download the registration form here.

Mail in your completed registration form, along with payment to guarantee your slot, to

GSL Defense Training
21 Brookshire Green
Bloomington, IL 61704


A sampling of photos & course evaluations from earlier Critical Threat Management classes


Above, our ATM scenario is tough.

“Loved how you set up up with all of us ‘clueless wonders’ going through scenarios screwing up so much made us learn and ingrained it in our brains (hopefully).  Excellent instructors all the way around.  Saw a lot of improvement of situational awareness on second day.  …Perfect place for this class!  Beautiful scenery, very well maintained facilities.  Krav Maga was an awesome addition to class.”  – 38 year old female




“Here comes trouble…”  Our ladies take control when three thugs try to get even for a perceived slight the night before.   Well played, ladies.


“Unbelievably well done.  I learned so much this weekend.  How to train your brain to think during stressful situations.  Most importantly was learning how to avoid escalation.  Krav Maga was awesome.  I will be pursuing more training for both hand combatives and defense training.”  – 45 year old male.



You’re way too close, April!


“Excellent scenarios.  Really appreciated the Easter Seals Camp location, a great facility.  I think the mall scenarios presented som real questions / concerns about concealed carry peoples’ role in this.  …Maybe assign an instructor to two students for the live fire to give suggesions; its a bit much getting input from too many people.”  – 63 year old male.

— A first for us.  A complaint that we have too many instructors coaching students.



Distance equals time.  Time gives you options.  Options mean safety.  No distance = an unsatisfactory ending, especially while flat-footed.


“Scenarios were well-played.  I learned from my mistakes.  Instructors questioned our actions and made suggestions that may have have helped with more successful outcome.   Love the life-fire because I felt comfortable there, but learned more from scenarios.  Oh yes, and the lectures – great!  I was nervous (make that scared) coming in but had fun while learning.  By Sunday, I was looking forward to more scenarios.  The location was perfect!!  Lots of opportunities to space out the scenarios, using cabins, etc.  Enjoy the self-defense but would need lots more training in order to use it confidently.”  – 62-year-old female.



A better way to engage a domestic violence incident if you must get involved.  Yes, Virginia, there are times it’s perfectly legal to shoot someone in the back.


Tell us something we did well:  “The scenarios, empty-hand tactics, presentations and live-fire drills.  The location was great.  Really enjoyed the empty-hand tactics, especially when the instructors helped one-on-one.”  56-year-old female.



Sometimes it’s best just to use the Nike defense.


“Good scenarios.  Location good, plenty of instructors, kept people involved.”  …  “Thoroughly enjoy the GSL Defense Training classes and life-like information that helps everyone realize what can happen.”  – 59-year-old female.



A tough spot.  Sometimes the best advice is to not resist.  Especially when the darn photographer is sitting on your shotgun, inadvertently.  In this case, it worked out for the better.


Something we did well:  “Keeping students motivated.  Self-defense Krav was very interesting.  And supplying loaner gear.  Thanks to Easter Seals for use of the grounds.  It’s a very nice facility.”  –49-year-old male.



Can you see anything wrong here?  Hint:  If you draw down on a drawn gun, it’s not going to end well, especially when the person across from you isn’t holding said gun sideways or one-handed.


“Very well organized and well-balanced material.  The scenario-based training is definitely your core curriculum – live-fire was also core.  The staff instructors and role-players were plentiful and excellent.  The setting at Timber Pointe is perfect.  Keep up the good work.  I will gladly recommend this course & consider future offerings.”  – 61-year-old male.



In the “OH SHUCKS!” moments, stress-induced failures sometimes peek out.


“Location beautiful.  Food good.  Excellent location for drills.  Learned a lot from drills.  The live fire was very good.  Overall it was an exceptional class.  Will highly recommend to others.  A lot of information to think about and digest.  Look forward to attending as an aggressor at a future class.  Great training, nicely done!” 




Ladies helping ladies in the Krav segments.


(Something we did well:)  “Provide valuable feedback from highly knowledgeable instructors.” – 58-year-old male.






This course was wonderful!  The location was amazingly beautiful.  I learned so much from this that will give me more confidence and make me think differently and approach situations differently.”  – 53-year-old female.





Weapon retention, Krav-style.  This instance it was marginally executed (finger on trigger).  But, that’s why we do it more than once to help students learn. 


The choice of the place the class was held was excellent.  Classroom teaching was excellent with the instructors speaking at a level I could understand.  The content of the whole class “Critical Threat Management” is an excellent idea for any person.  Excellent.  The hand-to-hand combatives was excellent.  I can’t pronounce the name of the self-defense technique, however it was excellent for the situations one could encounter.  It is an excellent idea.  -57-year-old male.



Learning to strike faster than someone can react from the “fence”.


“Very well organized and well-balanced material.  The scenario-based training is definitely your core curriculum – live fire was also core.  The staff instructors and role players were plentiful and excellent.  The setting at Timber Pointe is perfect.  Keep up the good work.  I will gladly recommend this course and consider future offerings.”  – 61-year-old male.



Female staff on the Krav to help female students excel.


“Good scenarios, location good, plenty of instructors.  You keep people involved.  Thoroughly enjoy the GSL classes and life-like information that helps everyone realize what can happen.”  – 59-year-old female




We wouldn’t recommend choking our students after taking this course.  It’ll be a really bad day, even before the good girl’s gun comes out.


“The attention to detail by the staff was great.  The spacing of lectures with hands-on and breaks was very well-timed.  I’ve not had training quite like this and the knowledge and experience that was passed on was much appreciated.  The facility was outstanding and so accommodating.  The Krav Maga / combatives were a major draw for me.  I feel what Mr. Martin covered helped me understand the effectiveness of simplicity and gave me things to work on.  Thank you for all your efforts in putting together a great class.”  – 65-year-old female.



Disarms, Krav-style.  It happens pretty quickly.  Blink and you miss it.  And John serves as the crash test dummy.


“Well thought-out scenarios.  Great location.  Lots of help/instructors.  Great class.  Very well organized for a first class.” – 59-years-young male.



If you have no gun, it might be better to employ the Nike defense away from the bad guy.


“Overall, a great program.  A few flaws, but fixable when looked at.  As a while, great time, lots of fun and I like my many welts.  Ha ha.” – 58-year-old male.



Our role players, aggressors and instructors have fun in this class.  We don’t take ourselves too seriously.  The students enjoy it, too.


The scenarios were true to life.  The class size was right on.  The ratio of students to instructors was perfect.  I thought the instruction was precise and to the point.  I feel I learned a lot – both my faults and things I did correctly.  There’s always room for improvement on my part.” – 60-year-old male.



This is one reason of many why you should practice one-handed shooting.


“Force on Force training was real-world problem solving.  Keep up the good work.”  -unknown aged male.



Looking after a loved one.


Something we did well:  “EVERYTHING!  Great class.  Picked up many skills, corrected poor habits.”  – 66-year-old male.



Learning some fundamental tactics.


“I thought the class went well.  It moved along and there were a lot of scenarios that really made you think.” – 54-year-old male.



Live fire!  Move off the “X”.  We offer 1:1 help or better from experienced, top-notch instructors on the firing line in this class.


“Student to instructor ration was good.  Smaller class size made learning easier.  Good choice of locatoin and good assortment of scenarios.  This class was very well done.  I learned a lot of new things and got to hone skills gained in previous classes.”  – 51-year-old male.



Demonstrating good techniques.


“Good job on the scenarios.  Role-play was very realistic.  Overall, great job.  Good break up in lectures and activities.  Love the Krav Maga portion.  That was bonus!” – 44-year-old female.



Learning instinct shooting.



One-on-one help.






Students, a few of our role players, and instructors at our September 2015 course.  A lot of big smiles there.


Photos and Story from April 2016

After Action Report from April 2016



From a student in the class (in comments):


JM on August 17, 2015 at 10:57 pm

I was a student in this class. To protect my reputation, I won’t say which picture I was in :). It was a lot of fun and I know my skill level improved greatly over the weekend.

Yep, I got shot a lot of times and brought home a couple of pellet bruises, but they’ll heal in a week or so and were a good incentive to do better. Wearing more than a tee shirt would have saved a little pain, but the weather was hot and sunny… really hot. If your pain tolerance is low, just wear more clothing.

The GSL Defense Training crew was excellent. The classroom time was appropriate but not excessive. The role playing and facilities were outstanding. Live fire range time reinforced the skills we picked up using the airsoft. While live fire range time was limited since it was a one weekend class, I still blew through over 150 rounds of ammo and didn’t feel rushed. Those were two very full days of training.

This curriculum was geared to civilians protecting themselves and their loved ones. This is a much more appropriate approach than I’ve seen anywhere else, and from what I’ve seen, this is by far the best force on force training available to the public. It would be a great course for someone new to shooting who just got their CCW as well as those of us who have been shooting recreationally for years.

I predict that in a few years, GSLDT will be known as the go-to place for advanced civilian force on force training.

Since they only have one more class scheduled for this year, I strongly encourage all my CCW friends to get signed up while there are still openings.


And another.

Jan M Cimarossa on August 18, 2015 at 5:14 pm

I thought GSL did a GREAT job, with all aspects of the class. I enjoyed the scenarios, especially the critique after the fact. Very, very helpful on what to do or think about the next time. Also, very enlightening on the law part by Steve Davis, really makes you think about what to do in any case. Thank you guys & gals for a really great weekend. Will do it again.




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