by Tiger McKee
Learning the art of self-defense requires practice. In the beginning you're working on techniques, the skills required to properly use your firearm. Next you focus on principles, the tactics necessary to defeat the threat(s). Finally, through thousands of repetitions, you make these skills and tactics yours. The biggest thing working against you in this journey is resistance. You must learn to overcome resistance.
To operate a firearm properly - safely and efficiently - requires training and practice. You train, attending a class under a qualified instructor to know what to "do." After instruction you know how to clear a malfunction. Now, you learn to clear them through repetition. "They" say it takes five to ten thousand repetitions to learn a skill. Learning to clear a stoppage, it occurs at a subconscious level under any conditions, requires thousands of repetitions.
Psychologically we are herd animals. Whether it's entertainment, work, or fighting, we tend to participate more and do better in a group. The man or woman who becomes good at using firearms recognizes that success only comes through individual practice. You're going to have to put in a lot of time, by yourself, in order to learn. You have to look forwarding to spending time with your weapon.
Once you learn techniques you practice principles. You start moving, communicating and using cover, applying strategy and tactics along with the technical skills you've acquired in order to solve the problem. Eventually, again through repetition, these things become yours. They work for you.
Making time to practice these skills takes dedication. There's never a shortage of excuses not to practice. You know what they are. There are countless opportunities to practice. (Remember, practice doesn't mean going to the range.) The only real reason you don't practice is because you're not committed. Someone with dedication sets up a schedule for practice, showing up whether their buddy does or not. They have a clear plan for practice; it serves a purpose as opposed to just going shooting. Dedication means you're committed to the long-term benefits. Progress will be a slow. Stay on track.
Most people resist change. Studying the art of combat, becoming a warrior, should change you. As a warrior you look at the world in a different way, recognizing the responsibility for your safety and the security of those around you. You ensure mind, body, weapons and gear are always ready. This responsibility bleeds over into your daily life and how you conduct yourself. You apply the same attention to your daily life; ready for the tasks will come. The rewards are huge.
Becoming a warrior doesn't mean quitting your job, leaving the family and turning into a monk. Being a warrior means you fight resistance every day. You do constant battle against the temptation to take the easy way or delay. Combating resistance, taking responsibility for all things, is freedom. On the road to freedom you become a better person.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns," writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html Website: www.shootrite.org