© Copyright 2017, tim boehlert
During one of last nights broadcasts, the subject was about ‘picking an instructor.’ Now for me that crosses lines and disciplines – Use of Force utilizing your MA and UOF w/Deadly Force options. My ‘expertise’ but more importantly my experience is grounded in MA, and even that is limited, BUT with the proviso that I use it to do a job.
My question was: How do you know HOW to pick an instructor, if you don’t even know what you don’t know. To me that is the conundrum that many face starting out. Sure, after years of being actively involved you will make connections, as I have, and you might find the right guys, which I did, but I still feel frustrated that I wasn’t able to piece it together more concisely and quickly.
For me it was finding ‘the information’ that was going to show me and instruct me HOW TO – how to take down a pregnant but combative female; how to deal with an autistic ‘child’ that was physically an adult in most senses, and yet…; how to deal with a combative prisoner brought in from the Justice Center in full shackles, and yet left in my custody based on what the court required, all the while the armed deputies have removed those shackles, and are headed out the door; how to sit on a psych patient for an extended period, maybe an entire shift, without having any formal background in psych, no common ground, and with the direction to “not speak with the patients.”
See my point? How do you FIND the guy that can teach you ANY of that? It’s the same thing when trying to find a shooting instructor – first you need to know what your goals are, and likely that will change dramatically over the course of time and/or your career. You need to be able to filter out the BS – it MAY be relevant that he has MIL or LEO experience, and then again, that may be the LAST thing you need? HOW or WHEN will you really know if they can ‘help’ you?
Is combative shooting the same as competitive shooting? Of course not, but can you learn something through both? Sure. It all hinges on your abilities, their abilities and your ability to either pinpoint your needs together, or that you state unequivocally ‘I need help with xxx.’
It was refreshing to hear four experts discuss their specifics. Four guys with different programs, different audiences, different backgrounds, and different paths.
What I did like was that they all respected each others’ contributions. They all had VERY specific knowledge and education. I was particularly intrigued with one guy (Adam Wilson) that had recent MIL experience and how he transitioned his area of expertise to the civilian market. Just fascinating.
One guy (Mike Lewis) had MA experience and transitioned into firearms on a barter deal by serendipity! Another also ex-MIL, seemed like a student of training – someone that is smart enough to do the ‘instructor-thing’ smartly, by continuing to educate himself further – and they were ALL on-board with this concept. This gentleman was transitioning between opportunities and offered some really good information.
The other guy that spoke (Varg Freeborn) was from other educational and experiential opportunities . He spoke differently, honestly, and from experience that none of the others possessed. He was a bit more edgy, but it was also clear that he respected the others as they did he. He offered different insights as well. His experience was based on his lifestyle and that spoke to me differently. Knowing what I know, here’s a guy that I would want to train me – based on what I know that you don’t and on my specific needs.
I’ve always sought to find those instructors that had ‘been there’ and were able to ‘do that.’ No BS. No ego. Pure confidence. He had that and more. He wasn’t arrogant about it, only confident. He was ready and willing to share, and to his credit one of the other guys cited that he’d also have picked this gentleman to train with ASAP.
I’d train with any of them, as they all have what it takes, mindset, experience, CV, confidence in their own abilities, but most of all because they KNEW that they didn’t possess an entire education. They each sought out annually new training, new trainers, and to purely enhance their own abilities.
What was missing was the ego. These guys are pros without egos. They weren’t threatened by each other, they admired each other in fact from my take on it.
My point is that there ARE experts out there. You need to know what you need, and you need to know what you don’t know. To do that you need to ask questions, and explore answers with the help of time for reflection and time for re-framing once you’ve caught up or caught on. Take the time to ask the questions, make sure the answers work for YOU. They are not trying to make you the BEST. They simply provide a service to make you the best YOU can be.
It may be a long road, I can say that from experience. Be patient, listen more than you talk. Give respect to get it, but don’t expect it. These guys have some juju that you may never have. Don’t let your ego get in the way of achieving whatever it is that you THINK you need. Be open to other viewpoints, and keep in mind your goals are not theirs necessarily. That doesn’t make it not worth the journey. You may learn new things you didn’t know you needed to learn. It’s like that. I learned a lot last night during these broadcasts. I was able to participate, which was important, and I was able to ask questions and to receive thoughtful replies. My ego is boosted only in the fact that I was able to ask experts hard questions to either bolster my position, or to show me other views I hadn’t expected. Entertaining is not what I’d label it. Educational, and by happenstance from the RIGHT guys that you’d want to seek out, IMO.
Thank you all for enhancing my education, and above all for sharing YOUR viewpoints.
Scott Jedlinksi, Varg Freeborn, Adam Wilson, Matt (Prime) Landfair & Mike Lewis