Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda and If Only I...

Winning on the street takes a commitment by you to never make excuses and to always take your training seriously.

Sadly there are some officers that spend more time trying to get out of training than training. They are ingenious in the methods they utilize to avoid qualifications and training. Of course, when they finally must step up to the line at the range or demonstrate their proficiency in suspect control, we find them sorely lacking. Amazingly, these officers are totally disinterested in their own survival. Thinking they can hide from violent confrontation, they have bought into the philosophy that it "won't happen to me or here." There is a word for such law enforcement officers: victims.

The Plan

Former bouncer and martial artist now professional writer Geoff Thompson from the UK is my favorite motivational author and speaker. Geoff, who went from sweeping floors in a factory and "working the door" in Coventry, England, to winning the British equivalent of an Academy award for a short film, says that in order to achieve you must have an idea of what it is you want and make a plan to get it. Since you and I have chosen the law enforcement field, we cannot afford the luxury of complacency and un-preparedness. Since these skills (armed and unarmed combat) are part of our jobs in order to survive, we must master them. That takes commitment and commitment means time: time to train, time to prepare, time behind the gun and time practicing your suspect control techniques. To improve you must seek out a qualified instructor who can be your guide in mastering these skills. Any instructor worth his salt will work with you in your preparations. The combination of a motivated student, qualified coach and material that will actually work in combat is the recipe for success in a fight for your life. The end goal is that someone that assaults or attacks you is in more danger from you than you are from them.

You know what they say about excuses...

Everyone's got one and they all stink! So goes the saying and so goes the implication that in the heat of battle you want no regrets that you could have trained more, you should have gone to the pistol range more, if only you would have taken more time to train or prepare, and you want no distracting thoughts such as "If only I had taken my training a little more seriously..." The Navy tells us that "time and tide wait for no man," and as time goes to slow motion in a fight for your life, or you are caught up in a tide of violence that's swirling out of control, the truth is that you will keep on tickin' or stay afloat, dependent upon preparations now, honest skill assessment now, taking responsibility for your continued training now and no more damn excuses!

I'll end this piece by saying that the offending officers apologized for their "recto-cranial inversion" and I told them that I was hard on them because I cared about them and that their lives are dependent on the effort they put forth in training. Geoff Thompson calls it "sweat equity," in that you invest sweat now that will reap benefits later.

To conclude, I'll ask you this question:

What have you done today to prepare to save your life?

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