Meet The Fta Member Series: Cecil Burch
Tell us who you are, where you live, and where you teach.
My name is Cecil Burch, and I have spent my entire life in Phoenix, Arizona and that is my base for my traveling seminar work.
Did you grow up in a home in which adults had firearms?
I did. My father was an avid hunter, and I started going with him on dove and quail hunts at the age of five. I was enrolled in a hunter safety class when I was eleven, and the next year I started shooting in competitive skeet shooting leagues. My interaction with firearms started very early.
Were you ever in the military, law enforcement, or any other profession in which possession of a firearm was necessary?
I have never been in a profession where carrying a firearm was a mandatory part of the job.
When did you decide to become a firearms trainer, and how did you go about it?
I actually never really made the single decision to become a firearms instructor. Instead, it was a continuing outgrowth of my martial arts path. I became a martial arts instructor in 1987, and as I continued to dive into the world of self-defense applications and saw what the entirety of that study entailed, I began adding pieces of the firearms world into my martial arts. As that progressed, it became my obligation to either train or teach the best methods possible, which meant I had to train with the best instructors. Doing so led me into learning how to teach shooting to the best of my ability.
Please set out three firearms and/or tactics instructor certifications that you possess that are most relevant to what you teach today and why.
I am a Rangemaster Advanced Handgun Instructor graduate and a Rangemaster Shotgun Instructor course graduate, and I am proud of that because Tom Givens does not give those certificates out just because he likes you. I was asked over twelve years ago by my Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Professor to run his Fundamental Class and be in charge of all the new students. Like Tom, my professor (Megaton Dias) has incredibly strict guidelines for what he wants out of a jiu-jitsu student, so the fact that he trusted me to get the new people to the appropriate level was a pretty good indication of his faith in me.
Please name one (and only one) instructor that you might describe as being a mentor to you.
I am blessed to have many mentors that have helped me get to this point, but probably the most important has been Craig Douglas. Not only is he one of my closest and dearest friends, he is also one the people I can trust to make sure I don’t step out of my lane, teach something inappropriate, or let my ego get too big. He is a key sounding board that I rely on.
What class do you teach that you think benefits students the most?
Probably the class I teach that has the most direct and everyday benefits for the average person is Close Contact Handgun. That class is four hours on Friday night and nine-plus hours on Saturday that revolves around NOT fighting. It is based on the principles that Craig Douglas has termed “Managing Unknown Contacts” (“MUC”) and is designed to get people to see and understand what is going on around them, how to deal with unknowns is a way that does not leave the person vulnerable, and ideally gets them away from the situation with no violence. And if the person does do the right things and violence still happens, then they are able to use a handgun at distance the way it was intended, and not involved in an entangled scramble. Literally anyone can do this class because it is not about the hand-to-hand fight. I have had people of all ages and physical capabilities take this course and everyone comes away better. We spend Friday night thoroughly working MUC skills, and then the first three hours of Saturday morning we work live fire training on the range working how to shoot when the adversary is close and when it is okay to shoot at full extension and when it is not. During the remainder of Saturday we work force-on-force scenarios with UTM Simuntions. The material can be used right away in daily life.
What is the most important thing that you have learned as an instructor that perhaps new instructors would benefit from knowing?
The most important lesson as an instructor I have learned is that this is all about the student and not me. If we truly care about passing on the most functional self-defense methods and help make people safer, then I have to put their needs first, and not mine. I have to work harder than they do, and I may not get any ego stroking out of it, and that is perfectly fine as long as my students leave more capable, safer, and more dangerous to bad guys.
Please provide us with your contact information, including email and website address.
You can find more about me or contact me at
www.iacombatives.com or look at my Youtube channel – Immediate Action Combatives or my Facebook or Instagram pages at the same name (Immediate Action Combatives)