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Riding Shotgun With Charlie

Jun 14, 2022

Riding Shotgun With Charlie
Umar Arrastia
Close Quarter Countermeasures

I really do have the coolest gig AND friends!  One of my friends and training partners, Mark L, sent me a Facebook event for an ACTIVE Killer Response Course. I swear it said ACTIVE Kicker! He then messaged me and said that the instructor Umar Arrastia would be a great passenger for the show.  I reached out to Umar and we filmed the show, then Mark and I took the course the following month. 

Umar has a background in traditional kung fu and martial arts.  He’s been with the National Guard for a number of years, he’s done some personal security work, and some bail bondsman work. He’s got an incredible background. Umar grew up around firearms so there wasn’t a fear or taboo about them like with many who don’t grow up with them. After 10 years with the National Guard, he tried getting an office job, but found that working in an office setting wasn’t really for him. So he signed back up with a Guard and ended up in Afghanistan.

He found himself working on some training programs for executive protection, site security,  and vulnerability assessments. All of this work led to having to start a business. The business led to writing curriculums for various classes, including one for an active killer/shooter. There’s a lot of great information in the course, which Close Quarters Countermeasures offers for free every quarter. The next course is Monday August, 29, 2022. 

Umar gives us the history of the course, but also how it’s changed due to the nature of the world we’re living in. It was originally an active shooter response course, but it’s morphed into a violence response course talking about active killer/shooters, but also how to respond if there’s some mass hysteria.  Oftentimes, after a large act of violence, people can be trampled or run over by a crowd of people who are trying to escape. As a gun guy, I did enjoy the segment where one of the instructors fired a couple blanks in the other room.  Many folks haven’t heard real gun fire and it’s beneficial for people to learn that, especially if the firing comes from a different room with some closed doors, too. 

We have some good conversation about what Umar did to train his daughters without making them scared or paranoid about responding to incidents. Like many things, teaching your children takes the fears and tabooness of things away. 

Besides working for the Guard, Umar owns and runs a Chinese martial arts school in central Massachusetts, where he offers lots of other training and courses. We do get into how he is avoiding being the new Voda or DUST instructors, but he also shares that there could be something these personalities have to offer to the community. 

We end up hearing some stories about when Umar was a bail bondsman and had to chase some folks down. He explains a bit about what the job is, who gets into it, and what they’re supposed to be doing and who they can take into custody. 

I really enjoyed this conversation with Umar. I want to send a special thanks to Mark for connecting us. It’s good to have good friends. Umar has a lot of training, experience, and education that he loves passes on to others at Close Quarters Countermeasures. If you’re in central Massachusetts, please check out the class on Aug 29, 2022. There’s a link below for other classes, too. 


Favorite quotes:

“When you’re exposed to firearms at a young age, it cancels out that fear that you have.”
“Active shooter training is really more preparation than it is response.”
“My goal has always been to make sure people, when they are not in my presence, are a little bit better off in some way that they were beforehand.”
“No one ever plans to be a victim.”
“The best way to combat fear is to be trained.”



00:00 Intro

01:37 Umar Arrastia 

03:11 Umar’s background 

06:35 Developing training

08:35 Active shooter response course

12:02 Marketing woes

12:52 Changing the course 

13:31 Assessing risk

15:15 Firing blanks

16:47 “Be safe”

17:23 Training children

21:42 Taboo  

23:20 Your Circle

25:20 Other YT personalities

31:00 Martial arts

34:39 Umar talking “S”

37:54 Some bondsman stories

44:18 No one plans on…

47:26 Wrap up


Close Quarters Countermeasures Website


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ACTIVE Killer/Public Violence Response Course Facebook event


Dragon Gate Kung Fu Academy

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Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms



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