The Rise of Tactical Schools
Training comes in all shapes and sizes—though perhaps not as central to a modern lifestyle as traditional gym work, much can be learned from tactical training and education. Such training provides not only a different approach to physicality, but an expansive and practical skill set which allows the student an extra dimension of self-determination and security. With this in mind it comes as no surprise that schools which specialize in tactical and survivalist courses have boomed in the last decade, offering civilians a wide range of classes covering everything from hand to hand combat to gun fighting, as well as specialized regional survival and military tactics. Previously reserved for law enforcement and military personnel, the public has grown more and more interested in learning the skills necessary for survival outside of current society. But how did we get here?
Survivalists are not exactly a new phenomenon—in fact, as common sense would indicate, people tend to become survivalists in response to potential world altering disasters. As early as the late nineties Y2K scare people began to stockpile supplies of every kind, including medical equipment, nonperishable foods, and weapons. While at face value a fear response like this may seem extreme, early survivalists have given way to a very legitimate subculture: preppers. Preppers are the newest wave of survivalists who, as the term suggests, prepare for potential disasters by stockpiling necessary goods and training for possible doomsday scenarios.
This is where tactical schools come in—for many, mere material preparation is not enough. After all, what good are knives and rifles without a fully developed knowledge of their use and functionality? However, to assume that everyone interested in acquiring that knowledge is a prepper is no longer accurate. While preppers no doubt champion the need for combat education, more and more average people turn to these institutions; as the social and political climate of the country intensifies a greater number of people are beginning to take their personal security into their own hands, the mindset being that it is better to have and not need than to need and not have.
My tactical education came from my time in the Army. I attended basic training, as all soldiers do, and from there my training advanced as I went through school to be a 31B MP. The roll of the MPs was to provide additional support to infantry units in Iraq and Afghanistan—Infantry units would move into a location, do their work, and leave. We would roll in and hold the area, provide security, and occasionally take locations ourselves. My tactical training was actually put to the test, and I trusted it. It kept me alive.
This brings me back to the matter at hand—tactical schools, specifically those run by true combat veterans over civilians. I firmly believe that a combat veteran can teach a civilian more thoroughly and accurately than a civilian can teach their peers. Why? Because their training has also been put to the test. Most civilians who run their own establishments never encounter the pressure that accompanies the training. This pressure is crucial, it’s what separates an untested theory from a proven strategy, and it’s severely lacking in civilians who are not put into situations which demand the use of their knowledge. Enter veteran-run school Black Center Tactical.
How does this connect to Chaos and Pain? Chaos and Pain is not just a supplements and swag line. It’s not just a brand or a trend. Chaos and Pain is about pushing the envelope in everything you do—from lifting and fighting to guns, gear and everything else. Whatever you pursue, you should own it and fucken destroy it. Chaos and Pain is about being the best, and Black Center Tactical has rightly earned its reputation as one of the best. We’ve had the privilege of interviewing the founder of Black Center Tactical, Johnny Bonnett—a fellow veteran and respected gun fighting instructor.
So Cal resident Johnny Bonnett is a former Marine with a self-professed love for tattoos, guns, cats, and music. A true renaissance man, Bonnett not only educates the public in self-defense, but also owns and operates Custom Kydex Holster Company and plays in well-known industrial band Tactical Sekt.
Q: Can you describe your military and law enforcement background for us? Are there any specifics in your tactical background which the average reader may be unaware of?
A: I am a former Marine and a combat veteran with extensive weapons and tactical training I picked up during that time, primarily rifle and infantry related things. After I finished my enlistment, I spent a couple years doing LEO work after graduating the academy. The experience and training received during this time laid a good foundation for my skillset, though I credit most of my current capabilities to the training I put myself through over the years from various instructors and schools which got me to where I’m at now. All of the life experiences I’ve had, some not even “Tactical” in nature, have lead me to be a good student and teacher.
Q: You run Black Center Tactical, a firearms based tactical fighting school. How did you find yourself in a position to pursue such a program, and what drove you to educating the public about firearms?
A: I saw a real need for people to learn how to fight with the weapons they were buying, and not just the basic safety and marksmanship that was being taught in other schools. I really just started buy teaching friends and then spread the word to social media and the program grew from there.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for civilians to train and learn from firearms? Are there any specific skills or mindsets which develop from a tactical course geared towards guns, and what do you think sets Black Center Tactical apart from other schools?
A: BCT is different than other schools because I start out my students from day one with a focus on the fight, mindset and owning the battlespace. It’s important for gun owners to learn these skills because most buy weapons and set them on the nightstand or in the closet and expect to protect their loved ones and homes if something were to happen that required them to fight with them. The principles that guide my instruction are Shoot, Move and Communicate.
Q: You also operate the Custom Kydex Holster Company, what do you feel makes Kydex holsters unique? Can you discuss the products you make and what they offer to customers?
A: Kydex materials are a lot more durable and customizable than a leather or nylon holster. I can make them is most colors and most models and light combinations. I also make them for outside the waistband carry and inside the waistband carry as well as mag carriers and knife sheaths. Customers can custom build a holster on my website www.blackcentertactical.com
Q: In 2012 you joined the industrial band Tactical Sekt, what has that experience been like? What do you expect from the band going forward?
A: Playing with Tactical Sekt has been a dream come true for me, Anthony has had the project a long time and being able to come on board and share the stage with such a great friend and musician has been a blast. Tactical Sekt has a new album in the works and some live shows coming up including playing a festival in Toronto, Canada in August.
Q: Do you play any other instruments besides the keyboard? Are there any other genres of music you like to experiment with?
A: I do not play any other instruments, in fact, I really play a computer and just play what I write on the computer using a keyboard. I like all genres of music but my creations typically revolve around electronic dance.
Special thanks to Johnny Bonnett for taking the time to answer all of our questions. One way or another, it seems that tactical schools are here to stay as a welcome addition to other training methods. It’s unconventional, unforgiving, and unlikely to earn you nods at the gym, but tactical and defensive training are an undoubtedly applicable and vital aspect of well-rounded fitness. Maybe it’s time to enroll in a course.
To find out more about Black Center Tactical School please visit their site at blackcentertactical.com, or stop by their Facebook page at facebook.com/BlackCenterTactical. You can follow Johnny Bonnett through his Instagram, BLACKCENTER, and be sure to track down Tactical Sekt through their Bandcamp page to listen to their newest music.