Training with Gabe Suarez

I had Professor of Middle East History who was part of the team that was re-assembling and translating the Dead Sea Scrolls (He was also a South African who spoke fluent Arabic who went to Notre Dame and was teaching at a Baptist college in Arizona, so just being near him was a cross-cultural experience.). 

I digress. 

When it came to the Dead Sea scrolls and the supposed “mysteries” inside them, he’d say, “Ask the people who are saying that there are ‘untold secrets’ hidden in the Dead Sea Scrolls if they’ve touched the scrolls, if they’ve actually seen them.” 

The idea behind my prof’s comment was there are no “secret hidden mysteries” in the scrolls, as they’ve been mostly translated and what hasn’t been translated is either a) jumbled and tattered or b) available from other sources. 

Which brings me to Gabe Suarez. 


Opinions on Gabe are divided, but rarely low-key. However, having spent two days training and breaking bread with him in the forests outside of Prescott and seeing and touching the scrolls, so to speak, I can state a few things for the record: 

  1. Gabe’s a great trainer. His methods are solid, he’s patient with slow learners like me, and while he is a definitely a tactical/defensive trainer, he doesn’t take the easy way and disparage gun games and the people who play them. 
  2. He’s not afraid to list his sources. I’ve taken other classes that borrow heavily from trainers like Rex Applegate and Charles Askins but never mention that fact, as if what they were teaching sprung into someone’s mind around 1995 or something. Most men credit their sources when they have to, humble men acknowledge them whenever they can because they realize the debt they owe those who came before them. 
  3. He has, as the saying goes, seen the elephant. Before I trained with Gabe, I didn’t place an emphasis on getting training from someone who’s been on one end of a gunfight and lived, because every gunfight is a chaotic event and no two will ever be the same.
    Now, however, I think that makes a difference because it lends to a deeper understanding as to why we train with a defensive firearm.
  4. And the big question is, how long does one man have to pay for one mistake? 
    Did Gabe eff up and work when on disability from the cops? Yes. Was that a mistake? Probably. Did he pay his debt to society? Yes. 
    End of story. Look, you can say, “But he plea-bargained it down!” all you want, but the fact is, in the eyes of the law, it’s over and done with. 
    So why some people hold a grudge about something they were never involved with, I’ll never know. 

There are some trainers who I will never, ever train with (or train with again) because they do stuff that will get you killed on the training range, much less the street, or teach something that is of limited defensive value but makes them a lot of money

That, to me, are the real reasons to shun a trainer.