Active shooter training gains popularity in Southwest Florida AVE MARIA, Fla. – Things can get really intense at Martial Arts Fitness Academy where Jason Gabauer offers a three-hour active shooter training course. After the Zombicon shooting, the class filled up, so he offered another. After the shooting at Pulse nightclub, demand grew even more. Then there was the mass shooting outside Club Blu. “You hear a lot of it could never happen here, it could never happen here, and now it’s started to,” Gabauer said. “It’s gotten closer. We saw Zombicon happen. We’ve seen Club Blu happen. We’ve seen Orlando happen, so it’s really kind of, from our perspective, on our doorstep.” The course stresses a common motto: Run, hide, fight. But the last mantra, fight, becomes particularly important in Gabauer’s class. “We will spend the better part doing the physically fight component, which we believe we’re a little bit different,” he said. After a brief introduction, the class goes into full gear. The first step to survival is having someone who decides they will take charge. A second person then takes the role as back up. Next, participants learn to remove a gunman’s weapon. First fake guns are used, but then real guns are thrown into the simulation. “We spend a lot of time trying to take the weapon and actually reducing the threat by taking the weapon and by taking the intruder down or the active shooter down,” Gabauer said. “We will use real weapons. There’s no way to simulate that feel without actually putting your hands on the weapon.” The role-playing becomes even more extreme when a second shooter is added without warning. Gabauer said the purpose to prepare people with the tools to survive the unexpected; it’s not about building heroes. “You often hear people say ‘I don’t want to be the hero. I just want to survive,” he said. “We’re not trying to create a hero mentality. If you can get out, get out. We’re trying to create a self-preservation mentality.” Gabauer’s academy can be found online and on Facebook. His active shooter course is $75 and is attracting the attention of Lee and Charlotte counties schools.