When I talk about hero worship in this post I am not talking about honoring those brave men and women who perform heroic acts every day in service to their communities and to their countries. Those heroes we must always remember and honor. I am talking about ‘hero worship’ in the world of training.
There are many great trainers in the law enforcement profession. Over the last 30 years I have had the honor and the pleasure of training with some of the truly gifted ones. There are also some great programs and systems out there.
In my opinion however, no one trainer or program has everything. There are gaps in every system and elements from every program that may not fit with every organization or every environment. Every trainer has their own style and preferred methods of instruction. There is no single magic style of teaching that will be the perfect fit for every officer regardless of their background, experience and learning styles.
What concerns me is seeing trainers who treat a single individual as the god of training; someone who can say or do no wrong. I am not talking about any one individual here. I have seen this with every system of control tactics and with almost every high profile trainer. I have also seen trainers who want to take on this persona. The danger is tunnel vision. We train our officers to avoid it in the field, but hero worship leads to tunnel vision in trainers. That tunnel vision may result in the exclusion of training from someone else, which may be the missing piece that saves one of your officers lives.
My advice is to train with and learn from a variety of trainersn. Every trainer and every system has at least one thing of value to offer. Put everything you learn through the filter to sift out tactics and techniques that are based solely on size and strength, sift out the things that will work in the dojo but have no street application, sift out things that are overly complicated, sift out things from trainers who want to sell you their stuff by telling you what crap everyone else’s stuff is (if they cannot sell it based on merit, do not buy what they are selling), sift out propaganda from trainers who egos are so big they can barely fit their head through the door and sift out the things that will not work for your officers in your environment.
Beware of hero worship and engage in the pursuit of excellence in training.