Repetition is required in order to learn new skills. You practice a technique, over and over, until the mental and physical aspects are wired into the mind. Repetition is also important for other aspects of personal combat.
Many of the readers here attend training. Training introduces you to new skills and principles of fighting. You take a class, and then start looking for the next level of instruction to attend. How many of you have taken the same class again?
When you take a class, regardless of the level, there's a lot of new or different information being presented. Normally it's information overload, especially in the beginning. Studies have shown that you'll likely only absorb about twenty percent of the material being presented. Take the very same class again and you're up to about fifty to seventy-five percent. After the third time you've got the majority of the information. Now it's time to move on.
Attending the same class multiple times helps ensure you'll have a solid foundation to move up to the next level training. Otherwise it will be another overload, and you never really catch up. To get the most out of training you need a solid grasp of the skills required to perform at that level.
Or, you've taken take several classes, working up the ladder of instruction. After getting to a certain point, go back and take the first class again. You'll be amazed at how different, and enlightening the material will be. Once you get to a certain point you realize how important the basics are, and the necessity for reviewing them again.
The same thing applies to books or instructional video. There are some books I read every year. Each time I read through them I get a new, different perspective on the material they contain.
Repeating the same class over again provides confirmation. "Yes, I am on the right track." It reinforces your beliefs and abilities, creating confidence. It also uncovers any areas that may be weak or slightly off track, allowing you to modify or fine-tune existing skills.
Repetition also applies to your gear and equipment. I have a variety of different firearms. However, the list of those I normally use and carry is pretty short. For these weapons I have two, or sometimes three. The same thing applies to holsters, belts, magazines and flashlights. If anything breaks or gets lost I don't want to have to be ordering or scrounging for a replacement.
A lot of people think that progress always means moving forward, advancing towards your ultimate goal. Sometimes the best way to move forward is by stepping back. You take a class that is good. Go back and take it again. There is a book with lots of information. Read it, read it again and again. You discover a favorite weapon; so get more than one of them.
Sometimes it's more about focusing on the journey, the actual learning, than about the destination.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html McKee's new book, AR-15 Skills and Drills, is available off Shootrite's website: