Carmen asked a very insightful question:
carmen fovozzo wrote:Alan....Here is something I have wondered about for quite awhile...
For people that take a lot training from different sources and go to a lot of class's and tactical training and defensive situations, from different instructor's that have their own method's. How do you think you will react to a defensive situation when it arises ? What I mean is there is more then one way to skin a cat,( cat lovers please don't take offense ) .. You have all this training with different reactions for the same situation. How do you know which one is best ? And how can you make a quick decision ?
That's the thing - I don't necessarily know which one is best. I don't want to be locked into just one way of thinking. I want options.
Yet, at the same time, I also understand well that in times of stress, too many options can lead to brain-lock. Analysis Paralysis.
Despite the apparent conflict above, I do not think that having a "first-line response" based on wrote muscle-memory is necessarily exclusive to seeking to broaden one's knowledge and skill-set, and here's a long and drawn-out response as to why I think it's not mutually exclusive
I'm a biological scientist, and as-such, I understand well the "fight or flight" response. I'm a fan of trainers like Louis Awerbuck, Paul Gomez, Clint Smith, schools like Magpul, and techniques such as point-shooting for this very reason. They take your body's natural reactions and capabilities and incorporate them into the wrote-memory acts that they train you to accomplish. To me, this is gearing for the right response, when I'm in "absolute panic mode."
Yet, at the same time, look at high-stress occupations. I won't say that I know what jet-fighter pilots go through, but I can say that I understand a bit of what surgeons do, and you know what? when people say that stress-inoculation works, that jet-fighter pilots and surgeons are just two very real manifestations of that kind of training, I am forced to believe that there's truth in that argument. If the non-diagnostic malfunction remediation methods are what I will execute under the panic of critical stress, then the opposite would be what might happen if I were somehow able to break myself from that loop - that the stress-inoculation that I've been exposed to (and hopefully will continue to be exposed to) may give me the luxury of being able to tear myself out of those responses - and were able to execute a diagnostic remediation. Would the former work, and work well? Undoubtedly. But for a double-feed malfunction, would the latter method work faster/"better," in my being able to give the gun the right answer the very first time around, rather than having to go through the tap-rack-bang and then the rip-&-strip/rack-rack-rack/insert-and-go of the non-diagnostic? I think so.
For me, it's currently as much about adding tools to the tool-chest, as it is going through these tools and finding out what works better/best for me.
Like I said in another thread, I've never had lead flung towards me in anger. My loved-ones have never been in such danger as what I'm ostensibly carrying a firearm for. I don't know how I will react, under such conditions. Will I revert solely to muscle memory? Will I be able to do more? Will I run away screaming? I don't know. I'm no Chuck Norris, I'm no Jack Bauer. You've met me and shook my hand, Carmen, and I think you could easily tell that I'm no ninja assassin.
By going to all these different schools, by learning from different - but all well-qualified - people, I simply hope to expand my tool-chest. From that, I organize it as I would a real tool-chest: the most used items should be the easiest to find. I look to see what techniques best fits my reality, practice it to make sure that it does indeed fit and work as-intended, and make it what I call upon, first. I make those skills what I revert to when my mind melts and I need to rely on my muscles to just do what they're supposed to do.
Early-on, I was groomed in the diagnostic method of malfunction clearance, and so that's what I used for the majority of my classes this past year. After a bit of self-review, I came to the realization that despite how fast and efficient I was at diagnostic malfunction remediation, that it was actually less than totally realistic: that I'd adopted it as my preferred method because it allowed me to not only survive, but excel, in a training atmosphere. I realized that in the real-world, it would likely serve me better to have a first-line response that is as rigorous and "higher-processing"-power-saving as the more wrote non-diagnostic method. So I re-arrange my tool-chest a little.
But that doesn't mean that there may not be a better tool that I could've used, if I just took the time to realize it.
What I don't want is to execute a more demanding maneuver, under critical stress, when I've never even been exposed to it. I feel that I'm far better off having at least been exposed to it, however briefly, in an environment that is safe and under the guidance of a well-trained teacher.
I have no problems with any instructor/school asking me to do things their way. I'm more than happy to try: who knows, it just might work better. Furthermore, there's also institutional inertia to fight, and what better way to do so than to experience "new" techniques, right?
And that leads to the last thing, that there's the idea of never being comfortable.
Sure, a lot of our stress in training is and should be self-induced. You should always be trying to do better. The instructors may be asking everyone to just put their hits on the paper, but if you can do a 2-inch grouping in the amount of time allotted, then why not go for the bull's-eye, instead of being satisfied and complacent? It's easy to get comfortable in training.
There's definitely also stress that comes from the unknown. Going to a new range/class and meeting classmates and instructors who don't know you from Jack (or Jane) and feeling those butterflies in your stomach from just being there, I think that's a good thing.
So, that's my take on learning from different instructors, from different schools.
Thanks for a very thought-provoking question, my friend. And to my fellow brothers and sisters here, I invite further discussion.