Too Late in Life? Not Hardly

I saw a video on a Facebook page I follow that wowed me to the point of doing some research and I realized it might make a great story. The woman was not just drawing her pistol and shooting at a target. She was using hand to hand fighting skills, shooting from a car, using tactics that seem more suited to the military or police than a middle aged woman. But most of all she has always struck me as a normal, regular person. She posts pictures and videos normally of her shooting, or guns for sale, as part of the marketing of her company, Chesapeake Pawn and Gun. My phone conversation with Glenda Craddock, a 57 year old Navy Vet, Ex-school teacher, Gun Store owner, Competition shooter started and ended with one question…. Why are you going to such extremes when most people simply call the police or if they have a gun they go to the range and shoot once in a while?

Here is what Glenda told me.

In competition shooting there’s a time period, just after the timer beeps when the world is blocked out and your body moves without guidance from your mind. Your muscle memory takes over and you perform to whatever level you’ve trained. When the final round is fired and you show clear and holster up, it seems you’re still in a bubble and the world moves in slow motion as the people around you move forward to count and replace targets. It’s in this bubble my thoughts tend to be crystal clear, almost magnified. And that’s how it started. About a year ago that I decided I needed to go to the next level. Not faster and cleaner shooting, but self-defense style gun fighting.

My husband, Jeff, built me a private range on our farm to train for run and gun style competitions. So I just kept adding specialized targets that worked better for what I wanted to do. But over time I realized, its’ not the shooting. It’s the contact you need to create the environment to raise your performance. You see, only under extreme stress can you train yourself to perform in a real emergency situation. How do you put yourself “on point” keeping your senses heightened to a place where you might someday find yourself in the real world? Standing in a lane at an indoor range won’t train you to react in a crisis situation. Even my out-door gravel pad range doesn’t serve the purpose. The world we live in is getting stranger and more dangerous by the day. So I started looking for something else.

My husband told me about a guy that teaches hand to hand combatives and edged weapon skills to military and police departments. When I watched the videos of his classes I wanted to go do one, but honestly it really scared me. I’m not a spring chicken, and these guys are slamming each other to the ground. Extreme aggression and overwhelming violence is the order of the day. I backed off and decided against it. Huge mistake, I wasted a whole year really. Then one day Jeff told me that Hank Hayes the “knife guy” was adding a series of courses for civilians and wanted to do some training with me. I never looked back. Unarmed self-defense, edged weapon defense, and last resort gun fighting skills. The knowledge lasts longer than the bruises. To my surprise even a small female with the most basic skills can hold off someone much larger and stronger till she can access her equalizer.

I don’t know if the world we live in is getting more dangerous by the day or if we just hear about more crime via social media and better communication. I don’t know if people are changing and becoming more violent and I don’t know if there is a deep state force wanting to stir the pot for some hidden agenda. What I do know, is I don’t want to be afraid when I venture out. I don’t want to worry about taking my grandkids anywhere we chose to go. And I will not stop exercising the rights our Constitution grants us as Americans. Whether I am defending myself, others or our rights, I want the ability to see it through.

That’s why I go to such extremes training with Hank Hayes of Intuitive Self Protection. I don’t want to be seen as paranoid, rather I want to be prepared. It takes very little effort to scan the space around you while you’re walking or driving. It’s just remembering to do it. Being prepared takes training and prep-work yes, but it’s really just situational awareness. There are multiple steps to take before going for a firearm to defend yourself. Being aware of your surroundings and making a move to avoid an area, a person, or a group is step one. However, if forced you have a very limited window of time to save yourself or someone else, and that’s where training comes in. Just like in competition you can only perform to the level of your training. Anything beyond that is just luck and I don’t want to rely on luck to save my life.

I do say I’ve been lucky in my life. Things aren’t always great but I work through it. Things rarely go as planned but I manage in the end. Things aren’t where I wanted them to be right now, but it’s not that bad. Turns out the harder my husband and I have worked the luckier we got. I love the gun store, Chesapeake Pawn and Gun has been a challenge at times, but anything worth having usually has some growing pains. We focus on providing firearms at a fair price to our most valuable asset, our customers. We like to think folks can come in and hang out if they want. Our gunsmith shop often has a group doing just that. Our manager Kristen works very hard at insuring every customer is thrilled when they leave and knows they are welcome anytime. Our Facebook page is loaded with fans who love talking about guns or the pictures I post of me doing what I do. We have a lot of fun on the page including a weekly gun giveaway. All the marketing and ideas to make that store special came from the same place as my idea to train with Hank.

In competition shooting there’s a time period, just after the timer beeps when the world is blocked out…..



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