'My Way or the Highway:' The Wrong Way to Teach & Train

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posted on July 19, 2019
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Not too long before his death, Col. Jeff Cooper, founder of Gunsite Academy, was quoted as saying that he wished that he hadn’t made such a big deal about the difference between the Weaver Stance and the Isosceles Stance. I suspect that he wasn’t giving up on the Weaver but, rather, admitting that there is more than one way to skin a cat, as the old saying goes. Too many of today’s instructors have a "My Way or the Highway" attitude that does them a disservice and impedes their ability to teach. Instead of saying “this is THE way,” they should be saying “this is A way.”

By the same token, I find considerable fault with the student who signs up for a class and then refuses to try to learn a technique that is being taught. Why they are wasting everyone’s time, including their own? Are they spending good money for the chance to show off?

The smart thing to do is to make a concerted effort to learn what the instructor is trying to teach. That means putting aside what was taught in the Army, the police academy or the gun range back home and honestly trying to learn these techniques that are new to you. Being in a defensive class for any other reason just doesn’t make sense.

Equally ridiculous are students who come home and declares that a certain technique–the Weaver Stance, for instance–is wrong. Then they proceed to demonstrate the stance and gets it all wrong. I’ve even seen that particular example in magazine articles.

You know when you have learned something useful because it allows you to hit your target more quickly and accurately than what you were doing before. It will also give you a feeling of confidence that you previously lacked. And, after practice and reflection upon what you’ve learned, you feel like it was money well spent and that you are more able to deal with a violent criminal attack.

As to the instructors with the “My Way or the Highway” attitude–just save your money and stay home. You won’t regret it.

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