Almost all of us can look back in their lives and recall a hobby, sport or activity they enjoyed in their youth. In my youth, my friends and I enjoyed rollerblading. We would skate everywhere, all day. There was nothing we wouldn’t try to jump down or over, and no speed made us uncomfortable. I still live in the same area I grew up in, so I have the pleasure of passing by some of these areas where we would skate. In particular there is a set of stairs at a school. I look at these stairs now and I am amazed I didn’t have a reserved bed in the emergency room. I was crazy, there was two ten foot drops with a landing separating them. We would go as fast as we could leap off and spin 360 degrees, hit the landing only to leap of the second drop. Why is it that my friends and I were able to do this without any fear of injury or death? Partly because we were young and thought we were invincible, but mostly because we trained for it, everyday, all day. We started small, and built our way up to those bigger and better stunts. The skills we had, which were obtained from the constant training, were and still are perishable. The longer we went without training, the more our skills deteriorated.
How does this relate to defensive training? Well, just like rollerblading, or any other skill, the training is perishable. Lets presume all firearms owners went through a basic safety course to obtain a pistol permit to purchase or conceal carry a firearm, some of the more enthusiastic owners have taken advanced training at some point, but there is a common theme I get from most of those people I speak with. They ask about training and provide a laundry list of courses they had already taken. Now there is nothing wrong with wanting to be exposed to new things, but we have to understand it is equally important to attend training classes we have already taken to refresh our skill sets. The old saying rings true, “practice make perfect”. We also have to keep in mind that doing something properly, repetitively, develops good habits. Doing something improperly, repetitively, develops bad habits. These bad habits are harder to get rid of when they surface if they are not corrected immediately. It may seem redundant, but by taking a day to go back to the basics is incredibly beneficial to our overall readiness. As an instructor, I have to attend a certain amount of training every year to keep my certification. As a police officer, I am held to the same continuing education standard. Armed civilians are not held to this standard and this can lead to problems.
As an instructor, I am constantly learning from classes, peers, and students alike. If you have taken anyone of my courses five years ago, and then take the same course today, I bet you would fine that the class would have new and updated information. As an instructor it is so important to pass that knowledge onto you, the student, which all our instructors at APC & BSR do as well. So go out, take new courses, learn new things, but don’t be afraid to jump back into a class you have already taken. I guarantee you will learn new things, be reminded of things you forgot and have fun in the process. The most important benefit is that you will be more confident in your skills. This is critical in a lethal force encounter.
Keep your eyes peeled for a new series of advanced classes at the Bridgeport Shooting Range. These classes are being developed now and will offer several different disciplines on a continued bases throughout the year. Once you’re done with the series, it will be perfect timing to jump back into one you already took to hone your skills. These classes will be offered on Saturdays mornings to start and will be around 5 hours in length. We hope to have these up and going soon, but participation will be key to keeping them going.