Stylistic PerfectionSteven Lieberman
So, this last weekend we hosted CCW class 52. Each class is unique and the skill sets and age for the participants vary from week to week. This class had a bunch of individuals that had been shooting for years.
Shooting recreationally for years.
As defensive shooters…. well… for most of them this was day one.
Sandy and I worked as instructors at the range on Sunday. When we are working with students on the line we tend to divvy up our responsibilities. The students that were in front of me, and my responsibility were newer shooters and as such, were relatively easy to mold. Few bad habits stood in the way of their success.
Sandy on the other had had the old timers.
Watching her was both an exercise in pride in her professionalism as a weapons instructor, as well as her patience as a teacher.
(If you have arrived here from our newsletter continue reading here:)
Sandy’s students knew what they were doing from the stand point of being able to put a projectile through a piece of paper. They also, thankfully were not afraid of their firearms… what they lacked though was proper procedural discipline.
Their presentations were sloppy, and their magazines manipulations were so convoluted they had as much chance of getting the magazine into the mag well, as they did fumbling the magazine and dropping it to the ground. Searching and assessing prior to going back to the holster was also a concept that was so complex that her students completely abandoned the idea.
She was not to be deterred though.
Through a complex combination of praise, slowing them down, physically manipulating them, and when necessary chiding them for failure to perform… Sandy brought these grizzled shooters out of the realm of recreational shooting, and into the new world of defensive shooting… a modality that the CCW mandates.
She got them to do it properly, but boy… there were times when I thought she was going to loose her mind. Throughout the evolutions she stayed calm and professional. Afterword, as we headed back to Artemis for the last legal portion of the class I asked her how she felt her students had done.
“Good… they need repetitive work… but they are on their way.”
“it looked kinda tough.”
“They’ve been doing it ‘their way’ for years… it takes a while to get people to break bad habits. Hell… I’ve been trying to get you to do the dishes a specific way for eighteen years, and I still haven’t been able to pull that off.”
At the end of each class we do a debrief. During that debrief we solicit our students for positive and negative comments about the the class. This is our opportunity to learn from our own students and see if there are ways we can do things better.
No one had anything negative to say. As I was saying goodbye to the students as they walked through our lobby (Sandy was still working with a couple on their Mulit-state applications) one of “her” students came up to me.
“Your wife is amazing.”
“Thanks… I know.”
“No really… she is an incredible teacher. I am really impressed. She would not allow me to get away with anything out there. She watched me like a hawk and made sure I was doing it right. Without her I would never have learned what bad habits I had.”
“Well thanks… but we went over those skills yesterday in the lab, I am sure with practice you would have gotten it.”
“Eventually sure… but it might have taken years. Having her there watching me… actually having all you guys watch us like you did, you allowed us to move forward faster than we ever would have achieved on our own.”
“Well good… I hope she wasn’t too rough on you.”
“Not at all! I was telling my wife on the phone when I was driving back from the range, how amazing Sandy was… She kept me honest, but I never felt that she was condescending.”
(Now If I can only get her to stop yelling at me about those damn dishes!)