I enjoy the conversations with first time gun owners or those who are looking to take their first training class. I consider it a huge perk to be their first experience and we take that duty quite seriously.
Assumption of ease
Training in the defensive arts is not easy, it’s not suppose to be easy. It shouldn’t be difficult so don’t misunderstand me, but it’s not a walk in the park. I try to prepare folks for the realities of combat marksmanship. We use techniques that take advantage of simplicity, overlap with other skills and are highly successful under stress.
When we are doing our introduction brief, I go over the points that have lead to our success. There are several, but three that really stand out. It’s at that point that I try to explain being uncomfortable through this experience is a good thing. In fact, if you are comfortable then I’m not doing my job.
So, what do I mean by being uncomfortable. Learning is the process of change and newness. That can be uncomfortable for some, they are use to doing things a certain way and then along comes something new and their initial response is to push it away. That’s not the tough part, the tough part is when they finally come around and start to employ the techniques, tactics or procedures it is largely because they have accepted that feeling of being uncomfortable.
Low batting average
This industry is a fickle industry, on the one hand you are suppose to be these death dealing bearded badass, but more often than not you are just trying to look the part. You cannot posses a weakness or be viewed as weak. It is the unspoken cardinal sin and the biggest hinderance to learning quite frankly. I see it all the time, guys come in with so and so certificates under their belt, they have all the gear and know the language, but then when it comes time to step up to the plate their batting average plummets.
Trying to reach these students is not easy, but it is always resolved in the same manner. They have to choose to learn, improve, develop. However you want to phrase it, they finally come to that decision. I don’t think that shaming folks into learning is good for long term sustainability. You might get short term gains, but we want long term sustainable growth. You have to encourage them to want to grow and improve.
I remind everyone I have high expectations of every single student that we come into contact with, every one we hold to a higher standard. Why? It’s really simple, I believe that if you believe in them, they will believe in themselves and work tirelessly to live up to your expectations. I am privileged to have seen it first hand, time and time again.
So, stepping outside your comfort zone is important, but you also need to realize that you are not alone. Everyone in the class is experiencing the same thing and being uncomfortable is the new comfort zone.