Is there a point when you just can’t take it anymore, when you want to just bang your head against the wall? I mean how many times do I have to listen to folks who really just don’t get it.
What am I talking about, I was doing some research for another article that will now take a back seat when I came across this video. It intrigued me because it seems now a days everyone is into “athleticism” while shooting. Hey, I don’t care if they just discovered it, it’s not new, but at least there is more attention being directed at this idea. My time in the Navy there were two professional development areas that where your own responsibility to maintain; shooting and fitness. It has been one of my pet peeves for a very long time and I am pretty much exclusively writing about fitness and shooting for Recoil Magazine.
In the video I don’t have a problem with the idea of physically challenging evolutions that include shooting. I think it is great, in fact I love it, but the point I have is how the one individual is freaking out about how he is causing damage to his skills because he is having to participate in this activity. First off, if you truly believe that, then don’t do it, but for the love of God and all this holy stop bitching about it. Second, Colin said it best when he described there are two styles of shooting and you can practice both without degrading the other. My belief is you will get out of it what you put into it, no matter the activity.
Programming, habits in other words
Here’s the problem I have with the other guy’s point of view. He talks about “range programming” and he uses the Newhall Massacre in 1970 as the basis for his argument. Four individuals lost their lives that day and many lessons were learned. His contention was one of the officers lost his life because he took the time to place spent revolver casings in his pocket as a result of the strict department range policy, a rumor that was proved false by responding officers. The incident occurred almost 45 years ago and while not out of date it is not the best basis for an argument on programming.
Modern day snake oil
You see, the argument can go both ways and the problem is some folks don’t realize training, any type of training is programming. So, to use the term “range programming” to denote a negative habit, which is what we are talking about here is silly. The problem as I see it is industry wide, we don’t acknowledge the difficulty of mastering a skill within a 2 or 3 days class. It is not very realistic to expect a student to be elevated to some killer commando status. Some will tell you it can be done and those are the modern day snake oil salesmen. It takes years of perfecting your art to be truly competent, what happens in the meantime is not always a by product of your training.
Magic wand syndrome
So, back to the issue. The first thing to consider has to do with another article I did recently about mastering core skills. You will need to be well rounded. The second thing is to realize you are creating habits. A habit doesn’t know if it is good or bad, that is based off the situation. I can easily argue if a student is so worried about conducting a scan immediately following a course of fire they are “programming” a bad habit. One that is really bad in my opinion, it is basically quitting. They are quitting the fight in favor of some magical or mystical scan of the area. Most of the time they don’t even know what they are scanning for or why. It gets so bad in some classes I actually tell students to stop, you are not even hitting target one well enough to be worried about target two.
I’m glad we are seeing some new ideas floating around, I’m just not glad to see the same rookie ideas tagged along with them.