How much does ignorance play in skill development? Despite what you may think, it is necessary to genuine growth.

The positive from ignorance

Ignorance is not a bad thing, it simply means a lack of knowledge or understanding. Skill development is the tool we use to remove ignorance and replace it with competence. But before you can fill the void, you have to acknowledge you are ignorant at some level. As instructors we must sustain the strengths a student has, but really our job is to improve the weaknesses. The student has to trust the process, they have to put their ego aside and realize this is a skill or better a trade craft that must be perfected over time.

Head banging as an instructor

All this comes up after a long conversation with a fellow instructor. Yes, we do talk about you behind your backs and word does get around if you are a douche bag so bare that in mind. This conversation was more general and really frustration over folks who don’t get it, who don’t understand the process. For many people, training on a firing line is the apex of their journey and for others it is just the beginning. What you have to realize is training on a firing line is designed to replicate certain components to the big picture. You have to isolate those components that lead to success in a gunfight and then reverse engineer them on the firing line.

Needs vs. wants

I turn down a fair amount of work because of this, because there is a disconnect between what you need, versus what you want. I get contacted by teams and units that want to jump right into advanced tactics without having the basics down. Here is a news flash, jocking up with some cool armor in multicam does not make an operator of you. The need to have the basics supersedes your want to look cool. I see the precursor to this attitude on the firing line, failing to perform basic tasks correctly or omitting them entirely. Then you place folks in an advance simulator like a team environment conducting assaults and its no wonder there are failures.

Crawl, walk then run

You cannot run, before you can walk and you cannot walk before you can crawl. Jumping ahead does nobody any good, it puts team members and the public at risk. A good example is teaching people to shoot faster than they can process the available information. The whole industry is guilty of this to varying degrees. Yes, speed is a critical component to the equation, but not at the sacrifice of failing to do your job. If you are moving so fast you fail to positively identify a “shoot” threat or worse you shoot a “no shoot” threat the magnitude of the failure is hard to quantify. Couple this with combat marksmanship under adverse conditions such as low light or reduced visibility while adding the stress of injury or death it is easy to see the failures.

Effective training

I am a lot harder on the professional gunfighter, the individual or team who carries a firearm in the performance of their duties.  There is so little margin of error and many of the issues are known issues such as the one described above. Yet, there are still those who forgo the big picture for the immediate gain sacrificing the mission in the end. Training is a generic term, effective training is what you should seek. Training that is mission specific and identifies your weaknesses so they can be improved, so that ignorance can be replaced with competence.

Amateurs practice until they get it right, professionals work until they cannot do it wrong.

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