I think maybe my post was taken the wrong way.
Lemme back up and explain my mindset, as a "customer" or "Student" when I'm picking classes to take. That might help the general topic and is probably more directly the answer you were asking for, than the final conclusion I put out without saying 'how' I got to that conclusion.
I live my life, I see vulnerabilities. I began with my basic Combative Pistol I class with Tom Givens. His class is 100% focused toward the MINDSET to take out into the world to prepare yourself for the fact that you might get into a lethal engagement at some point because some piece of shit decided his mommy didn't hug him enough and that he's going to take it out on you. Or maybe he was hugged too much. Who cares? I don't. I care about my health and my family's. That mindset coupled with the skills to present and engage threats with the pistol I carry every day is what began my path.
I think that basic Pistol class should be everyone's very first step as soon as they decide to carry. It made the most sense to me, and I trained a decent bit with pistol before I even bothered with using a rifle. People harp that Rifle > Pistol > Shotgun, which I can't disagree with, except for the corollary that I can't carry a rifle every day, but I -do- -always- have a pistol on me. Going with the practicality of that face of my life, I train Pistol > Rifle > Shotgun.
I was all set to take a trip to Missouri for Milcopp's coming rifle class. I thoroughly agree with and love the mindset of defense displayed by both Dave and Don. I think Dave brings a little too-hard Marine Corp rifle-first-rifle-last soldiery to it to practically apply to my toned down civilian lifestyle, but for the situations where I go to a rifle, I'd want to be trained by 'that guy' on how to run it anyways. I think Don seems to present a very practical and grounded approach vetted by more years of experience within the domestic side of things, in what I've seen of his posts. I have limited validation as to whether this is true of them during their classes, but seeing that of their blog posts, forum posts (here and elsewhere), and of some feedback from prior students... I like it. It fits with the mentality I take forth with me while mind-gaming situations where I may find myself needing to effectively defense my existence.
I ditched the Milcopp class, regrettably, I think, when I was offered a slot in a Carbine Employment I class with Costa, down the road. He waved the tuition, it was just down the road from Baton Rouge, where I work, and budgetary concerns pushed me to that direction being wiser. The class was great, but it seemed to lack any practical grounding. Drills, skills, and tactics we trained on seemed to range from "This must be a gamer thing for the 3 gunners..." to "Why do I care about the proper shooting technique while boarding a ocean barge in 12 foots seas with breakers washing over the deck?" - I did not get the impression that any of that type of shit went on at the Milcop class, and it seemed like they focused on some "my life is in danger" or "my buddy's life is in danger" type shit, and that they actually trained as if the range was a two-way range, and not a one-way. Costa's class may have been dumbed down a bit for newbs and my classmates. I will not take anything away from a trainer after only taking an entry level class with a bunch of strangers. I don't think it's fair. But after debriefing with the two guys I went with, one a capable shooter but training newb, the other a Iraq and Fallujah Marine vet who went on to be a training junkie and once an assistant trainer with a well known school, I will say that I am glad I didn't pay for anything but ammo, time and gear. Conversations with a few others here and on facebook whose opinions I trust (namely phil_in_cs and Dave_M, amongst others) also seemed to confirm my thoughts/apprehensions.
Notice the focus on mindset. That's what I look for. I want to see that a trainer focuses on the reality out there. Then I want them to tell me how they solve certain situations, and have a general course description for each. I don't think I ever saw an instructor that didn't have variance in their class depending on interest. The last half of the last day of Costa's class, instead of doing work with barricades, the popular vote was to play around with some run-and-gun drills. I don't feel like I got anything out of it, honestly, and would have preferred to get some barricade/cover work, but alas such is life in semi-democracy.
I want to go out into the world and be prepared. That covers many topics, but in the subject of self defense, and specifically in YOUR role, in self defense where firearms are prudent and deployable, and available, I think you need to figure out the most effective way to stay alive and preach it. I noted my disappointment at the use of cover, before. I need some of that. I don't find the prospect of a showdown at high noon in the middle of the street very pleasing. I'd much prefer to skip that appointment and not confront the guy in such a way. Unless the winner gets the town hottie. Love makes a man do... anyways, to me, "real" fights are what needs to be looked at. Givens was -great- about that. We were back and forth between the shooting line and the on-site classroom a LOT. We covered a LOT of real world scenarios and stories from REAL WORLD fights involving guns. We quarterbacked it a bit with "what went right?" "what went wrong?" "Now do you see why it's important to....?" and took those skills to the firing line and drilled the 'right way' into our brains and bodies.
Beyond that, I look at two other major situations in my life where I'm awake. I've covered the 'casual' positions where I might be engaged while already standing, sitting, kneeling, but otherwise unconstrained. During daylight, at that. I spend a decent chunk of life seat-belted into the vehicle, though. The sun ain't out half the time. There are variables that appear for large-enough chunks of life-time that I need to train for as well. That's what I mean by someone else telling me what I need to know.
To me, if you develop courses based around what a KNOWLEDGEABLE and EXPERIENCED person says is necessary to be prepared for common everyday situations, then an everyday person shouldn't be able to refute the importance and necessity of such training.
I don't -think- I am alone in this. I follow Paul Gomez on youtube, bayoushooter, and now facebook, because I think he's an insanely logical person, and practical as it gets. His approach really shows me my weak points. I don't know -jack- about unarmed fighting, except what I took from high school wrestling. Wrist control, eye contact, watching hands, footwork, sure there is some things that I might GET LUCKY in using in panic, but that's a whole other set of rules and it was a sport, not a gladiatorial engagement. Sometimes it's not right to present a gun, or impractical, or there's no way to safely engage the target due to environment. For anyone who trains with just a gun, you're playing poker a few cards short. That's me right now. I've been shown, by educated and logical people, with convincing arguments, why I need to train certain things.
It's a really interesting method, but to me, that is the only way you'll sell me on a class. I spent half the day, today, with tooling reps at work, on my CNC machines, while this guy tried selling me on his product, despite me having magnets with his competitor on my machines. He brought in some of his tools, and had me run it on some parts I was running already. Proof in the pudding, they did better on the same settings, and we even ramped it up and did the part better and faster. He showed me some youtube videos of his tools cutting more difficult metals under harsher conditions. He didn't just ask what I wanted, and then gave it to me. He told me what I needed, and then showed me why his solutions work, and why it's the good solution, and then proved it to me in action/demonstration. I got a handful of his products in my toolbox now, with a catalog on my bench.
You sell it to me if you want to succeed!
But hopefully with this TL;DR post, you know what it takes to sell to someone with my mindset. I have no idea how much of the "target audience" shares the "logic" or "analytical" approach that I do, or if I'm a vast minority or a good majority of the people who take such classes. I think people like Don, Dave, and other trainers, here, may have better input on that. They've got experience already with demographics of the training industry. I'm just a student.
I survived ZCon7, 2011I survived ZCon8, 2012
gravediggerfour wrote:If you don’t know what your talking about don’t lead people, especially new people, astray.