A number of years ago I read a quote that has always stuck with me:
“The true warrior leaves no opening except in his mind.”
Now I interpret this quote to mean a number of things:
- The true warrior is aware of his environment.
- The true warrior has trained to develop a level of competence and confidence in all ranges of combat.
- Environmental awareness and training allows the true warrior to maintain a sense of quiet confidence, a sense of calm and thus the capacity for wide vision.
- The true warrior maintains an open mind through an understanding that there is no ‘one way’ no ‘one system’ or ‘one teacher’ who has all the answers.
It is the last point in this list, the open mind, that I would like to expand on today. Too often in law enforcement I hear trainers arguing about the best system, the best trainer, the best tool or the best technique to defeat a specific threat.
Now if you have been following this blog, have read my articles, seen my presentations or been to my classes you will know that I have strong opinions on matters related to training. My opinions however, are not necessarily right or wrong, they are simply my opinions. They have been formed through my 25 years as a cop and over 20 years of experience as as trainer and the hundreds of books I have read and classes and presentations I have attended and I believe strongly in what I teach.
I have had the honour of training with some great people over the years. They all had something to offer. Sometimes they contradicted each other and that is fine. They all believed what they were teaching was the best system/tactics/techniques and I am OK with that. If they did not believe in what they were teaching I would not have been interested in the training. Having said that I have yet to find the perfect, complete system that has all the physical and mental elements covered and works for every officer in ever situation. I believe the best systems are hybrids, so they are really not systems. They are a blending of many strategies, techniques, tactics, philosophies, and concepts that allow for consistency in principle while also allowing for diversity in application.
Over the years however, I have seen too much hero worship. This is where followers believe that a specific trainer or guru can say and do no wrong. If they say this is the best then it must be the best. Hero worship has always bothered me as I believe it blinds people to other options. Those other options may save someone’s life. People who have to build up their system by putting down other systems bother me. If you cannot sell me on the merits of your system alone then you obviously do not believe in your system and I am not that interested.
I would urge all of you to keep an open mind. Learn from other trainers, learn from your students, learn from other styles and systems, learn from as many sources as possible. Attend conference like ILEETA where you can experience a wide range of tactics, technics, equipment trainers and training styles all at one location. Borrow from other trainers and always give credit to the source of the information.
Keeping an open mind will help to keep your officers safe.