We have all heard the statement “Train the way you want to fight and you will fight the way you train.”
I continue to hear this statement despite the fact it is not reality. There is a critical piece of this statement that is missing. What’s missing is “If you want to fight the the way you train, you must train with imagination and emotion.”
Some of you right now are saying “It is just semantics. It is the same thing.” For some maybe, but not for everyone.
In the police academy or in military basic training everyone goes through the same basic training, yet everyone does not perform at the same level in the field. In the real world some perform at the highest levels, some fail to perform at all and the rest perform at varying levels in between. Why? What is the difference between the top performers and those that shut down in the fight? They all went through the same ‘training for the fight’ so why do they not all fight the same?
The answer lies in the missing piece of the ‘train the way you want to fight’ statement. If you want to fight the way you train, train with imagination and emotion. Imagination and Emotion?
Training with imagination and emotion at the range means you put a face on everything you shoot. Every silouette target, every piece of steel you shoot you imagine it representas a real person. A person who is threatening to kill you and keep you from going home to your familiy, to the people you love. Training with imagination and emotion means changing up the faces you imagine on those targets so you are not only ready for the hard core gang member but also the 14 year old kid trying to kill you, the eighty year old man trying to kill you, and the pregnant female trying to kill you.
Training with imagination and emotion in the combatives room means imagining your training partner is someone on the street who is willing to hurt you to get away and keep from going back to jail. It means imagining the person attacking you with the rubber training knife is not your friend, but someone on the street who is trying to kill you. Training with imagination and emotion means giving realistic body language and verbal cues when you are playing the role of the subject. Before you attack take a moment and imagine being a person who is willing to attack an officer to keep from going to jail and then attack the way they would.
Training with imagination and emotion means putting yourself in the officer’s place when watching videos of real events and instead of criticizing what they did imagine how you would most like to handle the situation. Imagine specific plans and tactics for winning the confrontation. Watching a video of an officer and criticizing what they did or simply saying I would never do that is NOT training with imagination and emotion.
As trainers you need to make training as realistic as possible. You need to allow officers to train in contextual environments similar to those in which they will fight out in the street (close quarters, low light, obstacles on the floor, multiple subjects, etc). You must also talk to your officers about training with imagination and emotion. Explain what it is, why it is important and how to do it.
Only when we train with imagination and emotion can we fight the way we train.