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I would like to pass along some information that might make you tuition at your next class go further. This is directed toward firearms and tactical training but will most likely apply to other areas of Instruction. I remember my very first training class. It was very exciting and a little scary. Who were the other pistoleros? Would they laugh at me? Would they be safe? There were many things going through my mind as the class began. My first class, like many other people's, held the highest amount of information I would ever take from one lesson. Why? Because shooting isn't too complex and after you get the basics there isn't a lot left. No matter how "high speed" a class is advertised as it is still applying all of those basic things you learned at the first class. I have been instructing for a while now and I still take classes to keep up with the current "high speed" techniques, which as I said, aren't that new or high speed. Being an Instructor has made me a better student. I have learned from the other side what makes a class flow more smoothly. I am going to give you my opinions on what will make you learn more while training. The Golden Rule is to have an OPEN MIND. Go to every class with the opinion you know nothing. Push all of your previous training to the side and do the class EXACTLY like the Instructor tells you. Even if he tells you to do something that is alien or never worked for you in the past. I was taught the isosceles stance FOUR TIMES before I realized it is the best for me. I now look back at all of the money I wasted on training before I learned this concept. Another problem changing techniques in a class is the fact that your groups might open up as you perfect the new method. This is a natural thing but 99.9% won't do it because we don't want to look bad in front of the other Ninjas. So we keep on pluggin' away with our inferior ways. If you change the way you shoot you will most likely have a short period of feeling awkward about the new technique. Classes are not competitions. Stay with it a while before you give up on it. It just might pay off. Nobody wants to take a basic level class. Everyone wants an "advanced" class. I hate to be the one who breaks it to you but they are all pretty much the same. No REALLY BIG difference in a basic and advanced class. Sure advanced classes are different but not too much. Take basic classes. They contain a lot of very good information. I have taken about 7 or 8 basic classes and I learned a lot from every single one of them. Don't turn your nose up at lower level classes. If you think you know more than the Instructor keep your mouth shut. It is his class and if you want to teach start your own school. I did. What you shouldn't do is interrupt and correct him. If you have a valid point to make wait for a break in the lecture, he will want to hear it. Don't tutor other students. If you want to teach.... After you take a class you must practice the things you learned. Getting new skills at a class and practicing is kind of like buying a new car and making payments. After you make enough payments the car is yours. If you go to the range and "make payments" the new skills will be yours too. I have taken MANY classes with guys who take training all of the time. At the beginning of every class they have to be shown the basics of how to shoot and they slow the class down. Take time between classes and ingrain those new techniques. IDPA and IPSC are great places to build skill and confidence. No matter how good your favorite school is you have to train at different places. If your school tells you to never do "this" go find a school that says to always do it. If you favorite school teaches Weaver go find an Isosceles program. Go to as many different types of learning environments as possible. Go to schools run by ex-military, police, champion shooters and learn something from all the different outlooks to be well rounded. Most schools sell more pistol classes than all others combined. Learn to use those long guns, hands, knives and other tools too. Many people will train handgun and nothing else. You will find your tactical toolbox to be empty those times when you have no alternative but to fight your way to safety. Show up for class on time and be prepared to stay. I have been to schools that you "trained" 5 hours out of the 8 and yet others where you where begging for a break. Besides your standard range gear take water, a snack, and weather appropriate clothing if training outside. Pack any needed medications in your bag. Try to stay relaxed but focused. Staying calm during the exercises will enable you to learn more and do better. Not being tense will make you much safer. When students get jumpy they have a tendency to make safety violations. Train with the gear you wear every day. Don't have a carry gun, a training gun, and a match gun. Train like you fight, and fight like you train. Pick a reliable gun and wear it out. I know guys who carry Glocks but if they go to a certain school they carry a different brand to appease the staff. Train with the gun you carry in the holster you carry it in every day. Take your training seriously. Don't go out and get drunk the night before. Get a good night's sleep and a decent breakfast. Hangovers and gunfire are not a good combination. I am sure I am forgetting something but you get the idea. Be a professional student and get the most out of your training dollar. James Yeager Chief Instructor OPS Southeast http://www.OptionsForPersonalSecurity.com Cutting Edge Training Across the U.S.A.