You really need to play it out — beforehand
This past Saturday was one of the tougher days at KR Training. A couple of times a year, AT-1A Low Light Shooting is offered. It can only happen a couple of times a year because we need the sun to seat early (e.g. 6-7 PM). And since we offer two other classes prior to the low-light class, in this case Defensive Pistol Skills 2 started the day and the afternoon was AT-2: Force-on-Force Scenarios, which is a bit more physically involved for the instructors and well… I’m still recovering from the weekend.
While long — and many of the students came for all 3 classes — I think days such as this offer some of the most important training blocks. Not only are you getting some higher-level skills, but you’re starting to really move beyond the mechanical skills of self-defense to the more mental and mindset skills — which I’d argue are more important.
OK, so you just shot someone in self-defense. Now what do you do? Now what will you deal with?
Or how about we back up to 5 minutes before the shooting. Could you have avoided the need to shoot in the first place? Did you make the right choices leading up to and going through the situation?
If you’ve never actually role-played out some serious situations, I guarantee you will make mistakes — perhaps critical mistakes. Why? Because we’re human. The way humans work, we don’t “just know” how to do things: we have to be taught. Pick any sort of pressure situation that can exist in life, be it playing the big game, being on a game show, the big presentation at work, whatever. Did you just drop cold into that situation? Or did you prepare? Did your coach run you and the team through plays and drills and exercises to prepare you? Did you rewrite your presentation and rehearse it in front of the mirror a few times before the meeting? We set up and prepare ourselves before “the big moment” so when the moment arrives we can do it “just like we rehearsed” and it goes off without a hitch and a problem. If we drop in cold with no prep well… maybe we’ll make it through unscathed, maybe not. Is your life worth “winging it”?
The trouble is, we don’t know what we don’t know. Most people don’t realize the advantage of this sort of training — I know I didn’t. But I can still clearly remember how I felt after my first FoF scenario… and how horrible I felt. How sobering it was. How I didn’t know what to do, how I picked the wrong thing. Because all too often, we think that because we have a gun, we can and perhaps should use it… that we’ve got the hammer, and we’re looking for that nail. But you find out that most of the time the problems can and should be solved by some other means.
I was so happy to see students going through the AT-2 class and having their awakenings. There was one student in particular that I know got a good dose. During one of the restaurant scenarios, he was the CHL holder. He found himself wanting to just slip out of the situation, but as he got to the door he found himself turning around and struggling with an internal dilemma to get involved or not. We asked him why he did what he did, and it was just that internal struggle. We know we can do something, can we live with ourselves if we could have stopped it but didn’t? but should we get involved because I could get hurt and then who is going to pay my medical bills, my lawyer bills, take care of my family if I die, etc.? It’s a HUGE issue, and if you have not thought about such things before, you’re going to have trouble when the flag flies. We must draw our lines now, beforehand. We must sort out our feelings, beforehand.
Force-on-force sounds so scary, so intimidating. And yes, some levels can be (a SouthNarc ECQC may not be the best way to ease into the notion of FoF training). But KR Training AT-2 is a great way to start. It’s not physical — no contact, no wrestling, no striking. At most you might just be moving around, but I think the only reason people broke a sweat was from wearing long sleeve clothing and some extra gear out in the near-90 degree heat. Your heart will get pumping tho, especially if everyone plays their roles well. You will get a mental and a bit of an emotional workout. But this is the place to get that workout. This is the place to make your inevitable mistakes. This is the place to start to figure out how to actually apply those hard skills of sight alignment and trigger control — and that you may be able to avoid applying those skills entirely.
If you’ve never done FoF, please do. It’s one of the more useful educational experiences you can have.
In other news about the day….
It was great to see some women taking these higher-level courses. In fact, Mrs. Groundhog was there for AT-2 and AT-1A, which was awesome. Great to see her and Mr. Groundhog too, who by the way is looking great (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, just go catch up on their blog). For a reason that still alludes me (tho I have some guesses), women tend to not take higher-level training. It makes me happy to see this, because need for these skills aren’t gender-based — everyone needs them.
Skill take home: slow down.
Monster Magnet lyrics are a perfect thing to recite when you need to play the part of a mentally unstable person thinking the aliens are coming. Hey… I had to play off the weekend’s meteor shower.
My ankle is most unhappy with me again… too much time on it.
It’s always fun shooting at night. Muzzle blast is so fun to watch. It just doesn’t get old with me. And yes, I really need to bump finding a new EDC flashlight up my priority ladder (more on that some other day).
And I’ll end with a little love for the guys I work with: Karl, John (TXGunGeek, with his weekend writeup), and Tom. I’ve had the privilege of learning and working with these guys for a number of years now. I am thankful for their encouragement, the opportunity they give me to teach, and the ways they still teach and educate me. Thank you, guys. It’s always a pleasure, and I consider myself fortunate to be able to hang, run, and work with you.