Have a reason

I know.

“It’s cool.”

But so what? What does it really gain you? What true purpose does it serve?

In his book, Strength, Life, Legacy, Paul Carter writes about having a reason for everything:

Every movement, set, rep, volume, frequency, everything you do, you should know WHY you are doing it. Are you doing this because someone said you should, or are you doing it because someone said you should be doing it? If they did, did they tell you why you should be doing it?

When you sit down to write out your routine and your programming, everything should have a reason for being on that piece of paper. And it shouldn’t be vague, like “I do this because I wanna get jacked.” That’s not really a clear cut reason.

I bench press because I need to build my bench for competition. I do inclines after that because I have found that inclines help my bench press very much. I get very good carryover from it.

I do pause squats to build my bottom position strength.

I do block deadlifts and shrugs because block deads have helped me off the floor as do shrugs (yes shrugs have helped me off the floor). This is where I am weak in the deadlift.

I do some curls because it helps keep my elbows feeling good.

I do ab work because I compete beltless, and I know my abs need to be very strong.

That’s basically my whole competition routine breakdown. Everything I do has a very particular reason for being in there. If you have movements in your routine, have a reason for each one being in there. Otherwise why is it in there?

Always ask yourself these kinds of questions in order to help make yourself a better programmer and planner.

Yeah, it’s about powerlifting, but it applies to anything in life.  If you are doing something, you should have a specific, known, and articulable reason for it.

I’m going to apply it to firearms.

During classes at KR Training, we see all sorts of equipment selection, we see people that come from having other training backgrounds. We question people as to why they have this equipment, or why they do some skill in some way. This isn’t to prove that our way is right and theirs is wrong, it’s about ensuring there is a solid reason. I can think of two illustrations.

I remember we had a student that had a lot of training from another school. At that school, they taught to always rack the slide. Yes, this often meant they ejected a good round. We asked why he did what he did; “because it’s what I was taught”. Of course, but why? “To ensure there’s always a round in the chamber.” So far, so good, but didn’t you know there was one? “Yes, but it doesn’t matter because always doing it eliminates the need and time consumed doing a diagnostic check.” Fair enough. He understood the trade-off of losing the round (and being “down by 1”), and he knew that in a more administrative situation to just do things like press-checking. But when he was “in the fight”, it was a far simpler mode of operation to just always rack it and ingrain that motor habit, instead of having diagnostic branching and decision making. That’s not how we do it, but he knew what he was doing, why he was doing it, the trade-offs, was willing to accept the trade-offs, and basically had a thoughtful decision instead of blindly following tacticool dogma. No problem there, man.

We have seen various types of equipment, including those ultra-minimal holsters that are nothing more than a clip of kydex that covers the trigger guard, with a string attached so the kydex breaks away when you draw the gun. OK, why do you use this equipment? What does it gain you? What are you losing? Is this the best equipment for a class (you’ll be drawing and reholstering numerous times; is this going to facilitate or inhibit class)? Outside of class, how do you expect to reholster? If you did have to draw your gun in self-defense, how much fiddle-farting are you going to have to do to reholster that gun (because you will need to)? and do you think you’ll always have a nice, calm opportunity to do so? Let’s not get into the SERPA holster either…

In the end, there’s not always One True Right Answer to things. Those little clips may wind up being the right answer given your particular daily circumstances. Me, I don’t like carrying really small guns, nor do I like changing my carry gun to match my pursue or the weather. But time to time it happens that circumstances force me to make choices I wouldn’t normally make. At least I can explain and articulate my choices and reasons.

Don’t take this as a dis on your personal choices. In fact, don’t let ego get involved in the first place. Make sure you have solid, articulable reasons for your decisions and choices. Make sure they are helping you achieve your goals.