“Owning a handgun doesn’t make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.” -Jeff Cooper, Gunsite. An axiom that has helped me as I strive to be better in firearm skills both as a student and as a teacher is:
You don’t know what you don’t know.
The largest gap is the step from untrained novice to trained beginner. I had been around firearms my whole life. I had gone shooting often. I felt comfortable and confident.
And then I shot among the formally trained and was humbled. I received great training at the hands of some experienced teachers and I drank it up.
Good training matters. I learned things I had no idea I didn’t know.
And I thought I was good for a while. I shot respectively better than many of my peers and felt confident in my skills.
And then, I decided to seek training outside. And I was humbled once again. I learned things I had no idea I didn’t know And, at this point, I had been shooting with training for a while. An eye opener is placing yourself among better shooters and being humbled. It drove me to become better. I needed more training and I sought it out. I was fortunate enough to take training and apply it and gain experience through my day job. I also had the honor of having some very wise mentors.
I then decided I wanted to share with my peers the knowledge I had gained through training and experience. I started taking instructor classes. I learned two important things:
Not all who can DO can teach. A resume isn't all that makes a good teacher.
Not all instructor level courses are good.
I learned things from many sources, including performance sports, to help me become a better instructor. In order to help students achieve potential I thought I would need more than a resume. I needed to know how to teach. And, currently, this is the road I'm on.
I believe that personal security is a personal responsibility and that you are your own first responder for every critical incident in your life. You owe it to yourself, your loved ones, and your community to be an asset in your personal security plan.
Training matters. But why?
Because formal training will show you things you didn't even know you didn't know. That's a powerful feeling. Quality training will amplify your personal set of skills. I often repeat in my CCW class that we don't get to choose the date, time, and location when someone tries to harm us. We're not out looking for trouble or a gunfight. In fact, we carry the handgun for the gunfight we're not expecting. Honestly, if we knew we were going to a gunfight we'd bring a rifle and all our friends with rifles. The handgun is convenient and a force multiplier which is why we carry it.
The only thing we have 100% control over is the amount of preparation we put into our personal security. The only person we are in direct competition with is who we were the day before. Doing a little bit as often as possible matters.
Training matters because you don't want to build a training scar. Training matters because you're responsible for your personal security.
In the movie, Man on Fire, which I recommend watching, there's a quote which I like, "There's trained and there's untrained."
To that I add, personal security is a personal responsibility.