Thoughts on why people fail to get training

Nothing in this image was used with permission. Not Michael’s likeness, not the Dos Equis Ad, not the Shiner Bock bottle (my favorite beer) and not the Ruger logo. I made the image only because I thought it was funny and all rights to the parts of the image belong completely to the owners and do not represent support of WTGBU!

Some of the best training advice I have ever received has come from outside the world of firearms and a podcast I listened to last night reminded me of that!

Michael Bane from The Outdoor Channel’s Shooting Gallery, The Best Defense, The Best Defense Survival, the former produced of Cowboy’s, Cowboy action competitor, founding member of IPSC, original member of IDPA, Concealed Carry advocate in Florida, Chun Kuk Do and Aikido student, Author, former business journalist, former music critic for Rolling Stone, former beer magazine editor, former Ididasport competitor, former triathlon competitor, former big-mountain climber, former deep water diver… I think you get the picture!

Anyway on his podcast this week he challenged the idea that people changed gear in try to get better rather than seek additional training because of their ego, but rather because of their fear of failing and being the laughed at.

I am about to embark on an experience that fit that idea so well that I actually sent him an e-mail literally asking if “he record yesterday’s podcast for me?”

I know he didn’t… I’m not that vain.

Anyway…  based on his experiences if it pretty clear that he has learned something about learning new skills and he while he rambled a bit (Glass Houses, I know!) it is a really good listen, because he explains why people shy away from learning new skills and it caused me to do a little introspection…

First on WTBGU!, and in my posts in particular, I discuss skills but also I talk a lot about gear and breaking down why a particular piece of gear works. This is not to suggest that gear is a replacement for training, but rather to identify what gear works with human physiology and psychology (specifically mine) with the goal of finding “Gear that Just Works!” and stays out of your way… I don’t want to have to train around my gear.

Does that mean you can’t learn to use whatever gear you have? Nope… just means if you need a holster you might as well get one that won’t fight you. I don’t think that conflicts with this idea…. Does it?

Second, I am a little odd! I actually like being wrong!

When I’m proven right or someone agrees with me I learn absolutely nothing and even worse, if I’m right I feel compelled to help the others and teaching is exhausting. When I’m wrong… I get to learn something and the only one that needs to change is me… and I can do that!

Lastly, I have the same fears of playing the fool as everyone else. I try to use that in my training by filming sessions and sharing learning experiences on the blog… Like drawing a holster, getting a cramp mid-drill, documenting my DQ (here, here, here and here)

Next month I’m going to have a phenomenal opportunity to play the fool on the biggest stage I have ever been exposed to.  I am feeling the pressure like you wouldn’t believe! It is exciting! It’s terrifying! It’s like the 1st day of Kindergarten! The 1st day of a New Job! Starting the Blog! Opening the Store! It’s Awesome!

It’s one of those experiences that make life interesting!

In 2013, I am going to try to push you towards getting out of your comfort zone in training.  Learning a new skill.  Seizing a new opportunity.

In the comments today I would love for you to share an experience you had learning a new skill or the feeling you had the first time you stepped into the spotlight or unto the unknown.  I’d also like to hear if there is something you would like to do for the 1st time in 2013… or today.

As always feel free to tell me where you disagree with me or to share it with a friend!


  1. Keith says

    I recently attended an out-of-state four day tactical rifle class. I’ve never been a soldier or law officer. I’m just a regular guy. I work in a factory. I was surrounded by mostly current and former law enforcement officers, former soldiers (two with time in Iraq during the worst of the fighting) and a couple of hobbyists (like me) each of whom had attended many other courses. I easily had the least experience in that type of training enviroment of any student there and it often showed. I was the class dumbass more than once and it took a little effort to put my pride away and just learn everything I could from both the instructors and my fellow students.

    Those who know me would not have recognized my behavior during the class. I’m kind of a loud mouthed smartass but for those four days I shut the hell up and took a lot of notes. Once I realized I was most likely to be the guy slowing things down, I thought my pride would be better served by not taking up unneccessary instructor time by not picking up and implementing lessons as quickly as I could. I still made a lot of mistakes but I think everyone had more patience with me than I would have deserved if I had acted the fool.

    Each day, I went to the hotel physically and intellectually spent. I doubt I’ve ever worked that hard just to keep up.

    Having invested a fairly large sum of money (for me) and time in prepping for and travelling to the class, I had a real financial reason in getting all I could out of it.

    For 2013 – some kind of combatives course, start martial arts training.

    Oh yeah, I’ll be fifty on January. Old dog, meet new trick.

  2. says

    My main gal often tells folks I’m not an optimist or a pessimist… I’m an analyst… and a pragmatist… I have lived long enough to go through enough changes in approaches, practices, thoughts, and theories about shooting, guns and self-defense to realize that part of a good mindset is a mindset of continual learning and growth…

    I’m going back to take TDI’s Pistol I, II, and III courses again after more than a decade since the first time… why would an experienced shooter and instructor like me do that… because I can always learn more and often the fundamentals are things I need to review and this time I will be joined by both of my gals… my wife and my seventeen year-old daughter…

    I’ve never been to a training of any kind that I didn’t learn something… even if it was just another basic training opportunity…

    I’ve become less concerned about brands of firearms or equipment and more concerned about using what you’ve got and learning to use it better… as long as it’s reliable… I know too many folks with ten-grand in guns that haven’t been to the range ten times in the last three years…

    And I continue to put time, equity, and effort into assisting and training others in 4H, NRA courses, and Ohio CCW courses… to give back and build the future…

    Ohh… I could write a lot more… but those are some of my initial thoughts…

    Dann in Ohio

  3. Anna Herrmann says

    I love reading When the Balloon Goes Up…have gotten a lot of useful thoughts and ideas for being a better shooter all around-plus that extra stuff, such as jury duty, for example! Keep up the good work!!

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