About seven years ago I met Matt Fiddler at Shot Show, and we talked a bit about physical security and what it meant to various people. He was an extremely humble and thoughtful person, and though the encounter was short I’d never forget him. This held true when I ran into him at Ed’s Manifesto in his Counter Custody class at Mission MMA in Cherry Hill, NJ. As soon as I saw him, I knew who it was. He didn’t draw a lot of attention to himself, but for those that were in the know it was clear he was present. During our conversation at that class, I had asked him if he was going to be hosting any lock picking courses anytime soon, but to my dismay at the time he only trained Military and Law Enforcement. Soon, that would change.
I heard about the Covert Entry course through SERE Pick’s Instagram, and hopped on it right then and there. I have been picking locks and bypassing physical security for a while now, but never at a level much more than intermediate. This was my chance to get training from someone many people consider to be in the top of the industry. I wasn’t about to pass this up.
On the first day I walked into a sold-out class. On the table sat an array of tools, locks, and a tasty beverage (water). After introductions were completed, we got to work. Matt goes through and explains all of the different types of locks you might come across, their various parts, and where some have special features you might run into. I’ve been a novice lock picker for a while now, and I saw some interesting aspects to locks that I’ve never run into before. What quickly became apparent was that picking locks wasn’t just a sport or survival skill, but it was a puzzle that was continually evolving like a game of four-dimensional chess. For every move lock companies made, there was eventually (sometimes almost immediately) a counter move from the lock picking sport community.
Usually when there is a class on lock picking, you get to go home with a cheap but functional beginners lock pick set. This is not the case here, as SEREPick wants you to go home with all the tools you learned how to use in the class. I won’t go into every single tool set you go home with, but suffice to say you will walk away with a great entry kit to get you started.
That said, some walk away with more than others. Throughout the class Matt challenges you to see who can be the fastest, and those that win the challenge walk away with specialized tools designed for various purposes like being compact or getting into specialized locks. This was one of the more interesting aspects of the course, as some people respond very positively to the challenges and break through barriers that were in their way. Its an interesting method of teaching that caught my attention, especially since most of the people that won were having issues without that challenge, and then their skills were……..wait for it…….unlocked! I promise no more puns for the rest of the article. Maybe.
I walked into this course with a bit of experience and skill already, but walked out with a much stronger understanding of physical security, and a larger capacity for creative problem solving in that world. I look forward to the next level SEREPick offers, and will definitely be attending more of their courses in the future, and you should as well. These skills are great to have and understand, and will save you a lot of money if you ever lose your keys or lock yourself out.
Their next class will be April 27-28, in Windsor, CT.
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