Shivworks Edged Weapons Overview (EWO)

Craig Douglas has several pillars in the Shivworks curriculum.

Extreme Close Quarters Concepts (ECQC) is the flagship course, described on the website as “a multi-disciplinary approach to building functional, combative handgun skills at zero to five feet”.

There’s another, slightly lesser-known class, called Edged Weapons Overview. As the course name suggests it’s a more blade-focused curriculum, and is often described as “ECQC with Knives”.

Honestly, I think that description does a bit of a disservice to the course and the expectations that it sets for potential students.

There is certainly some overlap in terms of the stand-up grappling, as well as the blocks on pre-assault indicators and managing unknown contacts (MUC).

Where the courses diverge, in my opinion, is in the evolutions.

A bit of an aside, in the Shivworks lexicon, evolutions are the culmination of the day’s techniques into a practical exercise that pressure tests (and hopefully validates) the methodology. (Craig puts it a bit more concisely, but I’ve done my best to paraphrase)

In the 2-on-1 evolutions (evos) of ECQC, there’s a bit more opportunity to work the verbal agility, and the scenarios presented can be a bit more ambiguous. They tend to be more MUC oriented. How they unfold is dependent, at least in part, to how the defender chooses to act.

In EWO, the evolutions are much more fight oriented. There’s no pre-assaut cues, it starts with the understanding that you’re going to fight.

I think that’s an important distinction.

If, like me, you’ve managed to go through life without ever really being hit in the face, you’re likely carrying around at least some doubt about how that experience is going to affect you.

Even after having taken ECQC in 2017, and subsequent years of BJJ and various combatives, I still had that nagging doubt eating away at me.

Fast forward to Dec. 2022 when I finally had the chance to take EWO. I set out a couple of personal goals for the course, and walked away with a more confident outlook.

While you’re not getting hit in the face per se, having a training knife jabbed into the face panel of your FIST helmet is a pretty jarring experience. I haven’t been in a real fight to compare the experiences, but I certainly understand what people mean when they say EWO is the most physical class Shivworks offers.

Whether you’ve taken ECQC or not, you’ll get something new and different out of this class. It’s definitely worth taking.

The Suited Shootist
Alex Sansone took his first formal pistol class in 2009, and has since accumulated almost 500 total hours of open enrollment training from many of the nation's top instructors including Massad Ayoob, Craig Douglas, Tom Givens, Gabe White, Cecil Burch, Chuck Haggard, Darryl Bolke, and many others. Spending his professional life in the corporate world, Alex quickly realized incongruities between "best practices" in the defensive world, and the practical realities of his professional and social limitations. "I've never carried a gun professionally. I'm just a yuppie suburbanite that happens to live an armed lifestyle. Having worked in the corporate arena for the last decade, I've discovered that a lot of the "requirements" and norms of gun carriers at large aren't necessarily compatible with that professional environment. I also have a pretty diverse social background, having grown up in the Northeast, and there are many people in my life that are either gun-agnostic or uncomfortable with the idea of private gun ownership. This has afforded me not only insights into how we are perceived by different subcultures, but how to manage and interact with people that may not share your point of view without coming across as combative or antisocial. This is why my focus is the overlooked social aspects of the armed lifestyle."