Real World Trauma: Jonathan Willis

Being “traumatized” by Jonathan Willis is something I will never forget… 
By Zach Cox

What is trauma? Trauma comes in many shapes and sizes. It affects people in vastly different ways. Sure, It could be that while you are on your tacticool underwater sniper mission fighting zombies. OHH NOOO, you were just bitten and need to stop the virus from getting to the rest of your body kind of trauma!!! (Yeah…. Ok….) On a real note; Trauma care, emergency medicine, and even first aid, is something that I think everyone should at least have a basic understanding of. 

What are we most likely to encounter in our daily lives? What do you do for a living? How do you get there every single day? Whether you work in a dangerous industry or not, LIFE HAPPENS!
I do believe it is important to have training in trauma medicine if you are in the firearms industry, or your occupation is something similar. Sure, gunshot wounds are a possibility, but not always a probability. This is why I think everyone should have medical training, whether you are a police officer or a soccer mom.
Everyday life is where we will likely encounter the possibility of needing the knowledge and equipment to save a life.  This is the “REAL WORLD” …. Why wouldn’t we further our minds and educate ourselves for everyday life?

Recently I had the honor of taking Jonathan Willis’ “Real World Trauma” class (for the second time) and I wanted to share with you, my experience. 
I am a firearms instructor at Apache Solutions in Yadkinville NC. I have taken firearm classes and instructor classes all over the nation and during my journey I realized more and more the importance of medical training. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to take a good bit of medical training and to be honest, “Real World Trauma” is where it’s at!  

Jonathan Willis is the type of person that you just want to be around. The way he treats people around him is something special. He is extremely passionate for not just medicine and teaching, but life itself. Not to mention he is absolutely hilarious! Jonathan has spent the last 25 years as a Paramedic and is completely devoted to not just saving lives, but empowering people to save themselves. He is an instructor at Gunset Training Group as well as Tactical Defense Institute, both in Ohio. Gunset even has a t- shirt that says “SAVE YOURSELF”. That is what Jonathan Willis is all about, empowering people to be better human beings, and have the knowledge and power to save themselves.

I will try not to give anything away from his class, but just enough to be mysterious and intriguing.

Jonathan Willis begins the class with introductions and getting to know each other and then immediately dives into different topics and is already leaving us mystified with the vast amount of knowledge he has. His delivery of the material that he has worked on for many many years was incredible. We work through each module learning and growing together to better ourselves. Jonathan has such a unique way of reaching people. A master wordsmith that blends compassion, sincerity, urgency, and so much more into getting the information across to the students. 
Here is an example. At the beginning of the class, he stated to everyone that “if something makes you uncomfortable or you are feeling flush or anything, there is no shame in that at all. The sight and even thought of some of these things affects people differently.” He went on to discuss ways of counteracting the thoughts and helping anyone if they started feeling uncomfortable.
Trauma is normally not very pretty and is an unsettling thing to people. Trauma is traumatic! Makes sense right? 
During the class, a student started feeling flush and like they were going to pass out. Which has happened before. Whether past experiences, anxiety, or just didn’t like the sight of blood in some of the pictures in the slideshow, it doesn’t matter. What mattered to me is how Jonathan handled it. During a break he talked to this student privately and was extremely respectful, compassionate, and understanding. He talked through everything with the student and was so encouraging. The student was torn on wanting to go home (and truly was going to) and staying because they understood the gravity and importance of this knowledge. After speaking with Jonathan, they decided to stay! Spending the rest of the class extremely engaged and using those techniques that he talked about earlier to help condition themself to the “REALITY” of life. At the end of it all I saw something that every teacher and instructor should strive to be. Empowering!

 I personally will not just be taking more knowledge of trauma care and emergency medicine away from that class. I will be taking away how to be a better man, teacher, and leader!  It is something I will never forget. The student felt better, not worse. The student wasn’t shamed but respected and encouraged. The student left with knowledge, and was EMPOWERED!  Empowered with a new view on the “Real World.” That tells me something. It actually showed me what kind of man Jonathan Willis is, what kind of class he teaches, and reassures me that I believe in this program!

Throughout the entire 8-hour class we cover a vast array of important topics for different scenarios in life. The top-notch knowledge and attention to detail of the M.A.R.C.H. assessment was one of the best I have heard. For those who aren’t familiar with the M.A.R.C.H. assessment: 
-M. Massive hemorrhaging.
-A. Airway.
-R. Respiration.
-C. Circulation.
-H. Hypothermia Prevention/Shock/Head
I could go on and on with everything we went over in class but I will sum it up quickly and leave you wanting more. 
Other topics throughout the class:

  • Safety/PPE
  • Basic Life Support
  • CPR
  • Stop The Bleed
  • AED (automated external defibrillator) 
  • Medical Equipment. (TQs, chest seals, NPAs, Med bags/IFAKs, etc…)
    There is a lot more, but you get the point… Oh, and the Vehicle Considerations section, (Entry and Exit, Seat belt cutting, Window/glass breaking), was soooo good and informative!

Final Thoughts:
A lot of learning occurred. A Lot of fun was had. A lot of lives were changed. It wasn’t just me, the entire class all agreed and loved every second of it. Personally, I stand behind Jonathan Willis. I stand behind who he is as a man, a friend, and a teacher. Any of his curriculum and especially his class Real World Trauma, I 100% recommend to any and every one! The professionalism, the knowledge and structure, and also how the class flows is what is missing in the industry. Jonathan makes everyone feel welcome and comfortable in his class, which in turn, breeds the perfect learning environment. Comfort breeds an environment for learning competence, which in turn, breeds confidence, and in my opinion finally breeds empowerment!

Sometimes life is not always rainbows and butterflies. In the “REAL WORLD”, life can come at you fast and turn upside down in the blink of an eye. No matter who you are, what you do, or what you know. Whether you have taken a few medical classes, have no idea how to put a bandaid on, or are a special forces, zombie killing, ultimate life saving brain surgeon… Medical training is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! I implore and encourage you to seek different types of medical training and further your knowledge.
(Oh, and do yourself a favor, take Real World Trauma with Jonathan Willis!)

Zach Cox
[email protected]
Apache Solutions LLC
Yadkinville NC