We regularly emphasize the importance of training, but we don’t point out enough that training itself doesn’t provide all the answers. Training can provide a frame of reference, a technique, a better method, or means of doing a process, but most generic training does not provide a complete solution to a problem. Problems are rarely situations that fit in a box of known variables that follow a script. In a recent ModCast, we joked about people excited about taking training and doing bounding exercises. Those exercises are a tiny facet of a complete working skillset and it typically provides one way of doing things. Those people excited for bounding don’t consider it isn’t applicable to most people because they don’t work within a team environment.
Applicable training can provide a baseline of performance and lessons for to you to apply and consider variables to so you may use it more effectively. You take the training and then determine how to best implement it. You may not use all of it because not everything works for everyone. Sadly, many see training they take as THE answer and it becomes part of their identity instead of something to use when needed. Optimally, one takes a variety of different training and adopts the best aspects of the classes they take but still have the unused aspects as references and b plan options.
There is a lot of training that is presented on rails. Students focus on the narrow applicability of the content but don’t consider concepts in any direction more deeply from the core lessons or factors that would come in to play that are not addressed. Dogma is formed or evolves when people take these courses as THE option versus an option. A lot of CQB/room clearing and shooting type courses seem to end up putting blinders on students where the students do not consider factors outside of the content/context that was presented. This is like taking a basic first aid course and then thinking you are a capable medic. It takes far more than a class and some practice to become an effective and proficient medic.
Consider the classes you take as building blocks and you intend on building a sturdy structure in which to live. Every block added to the structure can provide benefits and they all can work together towards a common goal if they are placed properly. Your actions, which are based on the interpretation of your environment and situation, are the placement of these blocks. A solid foundation of skills and tactics used effectively and appropriately can provide a safe home to live in.
As you take different classes covering different perspectives, consider your personal experience, and then contrast it to events in the world. You can start to formulate ways of approaching realistic issues with the skillset you are building. As you learn about different problems, assess potential solutions and ways to integrate them into your living and growing system. All of this is a continual process and is why many of us consider ourselves to be perpetual students. We don’t stop taking classes, we don’t stop learning, and we don’t stop assessing ourselves or the world in which we live.