I better buy more ammo….
I better buy more ammo….
Having just completed a tactical leaders course I found myself revisiting a thought that crosses my mind from time to time about police tactical units and training. By a pretty large percentage, most police SWAT teams are “part-time”, meaning that the officers train 1-2 days a month and otherwise work as patrolmen, detectives, etc as their “full-time” job.
The thing that I seldom see addressed, in SWAT courses, literature or even over a beer with others in the tactical circles, is the issue of “off-duty” training. There’s plenty of talk about what “should be trained”, how vital PT is and how perishable weapon skills are, but WHEN is seldom addressed. Face it, formation running or group PT during a training day is nothing more than a team building exercise if your operators are not conducting physical conditioning on their own. Weapon proficiency of a SWAT standard isn’t going to be honed with the range time a part-time team gets. If a tactical unit member wants to seriously consider himself an “operator” he needs to have a “full-time attitude”. Just putting on your ACU’s and going off to your monthly training isn’t enough. Being “elite” isn’t a uniform or duty assignment, it’s what you DO. If you are only thinking about improving yourself 1-2 days out of the month than you are “part-time” between your ears.
The problem is…not all team members have the time, facilities, money or (sadly sometimes) the interest to pursue weapons training on their own “dime”. Add to it the fact that many departments (or certain key members within departments) are so risk/lawsuit averse that they wont give the departments stamp of approval to any training activity not supervised by department trainers and the result is many operators only shooting when their department provides it. Sure they get more trigger time than their co-workers who are not on the team, but not enough IMO.
Many of the best shooters I have met were good because of their personal interest in shooting/hunting. They would probably be good shooters even if they had never become cops. Fortunately many of those “types” are drawn to tactical teams within PD’s, but there are other SWAT coppers who, while not as “gun-nutty” as their brethren, would still love to shoot/train more often but are not provided with any sort of official support from their PD’s.
If it were a “my way” world and money were no object, I would love to see things like these available;
-PD ranges ran like civilian gun clubs where officers could go at anytime and shoot with department provided ammo/targets/gear.
-Departments providing their operators with take home training gear like SIRT Pistols, and/or training magazines, timers and dry-fire curriculum.
-The ability to use ranges, simulators or other department facilities without the approval of a Captain, two lieutenants, a sergeant and a letter from your mother. “If you build it they will come”…
In the end though, there are no excuses. There are things you can and should be doing ON YOUR OWN to keep up your skills.
The popularity of tactical firearms training is on the rise. Thanks to the internet, people looking for instruction in weaponcraft have many sources to refer to and training groups are easy to find with a simple “Google”.
That being said…do your due diligence. Research the people you are considering training with and compare them to other sources. Take a look at this video:
This is the same group/guy mentioned over a papadeltabravo.com back in 2010.
One would think that with all the stuff available for the watching on the net, that these people would have been exposed to videos like this:
Nuff said?? I know that not all the students are going to look as sharp as the instructor, but compare the stuff they are teaching and how they are teaching it.
Now…when if you come across a web page advertising instruction in “tactical firearms” and see the teacher has all sorts of tactical/LE/military credentials, and you see the first video as a sample, wouldn’t you be skeptical when you know that guys in the second video are out there teaching too?
There are many people who, by being attached to a martial art and taking apprentices, believe that they have arrived at the full stature of a warrior. But it is a regrettable thing to put forth much effort and in the end become an “artist.” In artistic technique it is good to learn to the extent that you will not be lacking. In general, a person who is versatile in many things is considered to be vulgar and to have only a broad knowledge of matters of importance.
The way I read it, Yamamoto Tsunetomo was saying that some people look at teaching, practicing or dedicating themselves in a martial art as the pinnacle of “warriorship” but that becoming an “artist” and being a “warrior” are two different things.
He furthermore says that when learning “artistic technique” it is good to learn only enough to be proficient, but he says that only having a broad knowledge of matters of importance is “vulgar”.
I am a bit confused by this passage. The first part, where he says that it would be “regrettable” to become an artist, I think I understand. It seems to me that he is saying “look..a warrior USES martial arts to accomplish his goals…martial arts do not define the warrior. Don’t get so involved in practicing the martial arts that you forget what your job is.”
I tend to agree with that sentiment. I have stated repeatedly in my writings here that I think that simply teaching or training in a martial art doesnt place you in the “warrior class“. If you want to BE a warrior, you have to get out there and put your ass on the line FOR something. Enlist, become a Fireman, an EMT, a cop, join the Peace Corps…get out there and DO something. Even if you have no martial arts experience I believe that you are closer to being a “warrior” than someone who goes to the corner dojo twice a week.
The people who hone their martial skills, the citizens who attend every firearms school from Blackwater to Gunsite…they are training in the “warrior arts” or perhaps trying to live “AS a warrior”, which is perfectly fine and honorable. Many of them are simply enjoying a hobby, some are preparing themselves to be self-sufficient in defensive skills, and myrid other legitimate reasons. Then there are some who think that practicing the skills of the warrior somehow “makes” them a warrior, but paying to learn all the skills and techniques of a Navy SEAL isnt the “same as” BEING a Navy SEAL.
So I agree…being an “artist” and being a “warrior” are different things. Then again, perhaps I am simply interpreting this writing to match my opinion because Tsunetomo goes on to say:
In artistic technique it is good to learn to the extent that you will not be lacking. In general, a person who is versatile in many things is considered to be vulgar and to have only a broad knowledge of matters of importance.
I can read the first part in two ways. Either he is saying; “when you are an Artist you can “get away with” learning enough so as to not be lacking”. Or he is saying; “when you are a warrior who is learning an artistic technique it is best to not waste your time honing it too much to the detriment of other skills”.
I think that the last sentence tends to support the first interpretation. As if the writer is saying “well..if you are an Artist then learning enough to get by in many skills is all well and good, but being a generalist is vulgar.”
That tends to run contrary to my understanding of what “artist” means though. I would think that the “artist” would be concerned with refining and honing every minutiae of technique, while the warrior has many skills he/she needs to do their job.
Then again perhaps the authors “artist” was different than our modern interpretation of the term. Maybe he was saying; “Martial Artists are interested in learning anything and everything to do with their art so they tend to learn just enough to be skillful in those many things. The Warrior should not worry about gaining many mediocre skills, he should focus on becoming expert at his necessary skills (i.e. swordsmanship, archery, horesmanship etc.).”
To make a modern military analogy, this is like saying a “military artist” would be someone who tries to learn about everything; artillery, airborne operations, naval operations, intelligence, infantry tactics, armor etc. As such the “military artist” gains a broad but shallow knowledge of all these skills. Its as if Tsunetomo is saying “dont be a Military Artist…focus on your infantry skills. You may not know squat about Tank Warfare but you will be an Infantry expert.”
I wish that Tsunetomo was around so I could ask him to clarify. Does anybody else have an interpretation of this passage that differs from mine?
Any way you interpret it, this passage raises some interesting thoughts about the relationship between your “mission” and your training goals.
Throughout your life advance daily, becoming more skillful
than yesterday, more skillful than today. This is never-ending.
I find the solution for the “shot drift” at the end of this video pretty interesting. I tend to drift the same direction when shooting at speed. Ill have to give this a try.
…for a guy to learn good information and say that the woman giving it is attractive?