Listen to Learn

Listening is not a passive part of learning and improving but an active and integral part of improving and staying alive

Vet the Instructor 

Let me just say that you must always vet the instructor and material in question.  I invite scrutiny into my background and any reputable instructor should.  I’ve run into too many people that have misrepresented their background and experience and whose material borders on the outright absurd or dangerous if it doesn’t clearly cross that line.

Just because they’ve been doing it a while doesn’t mean that they know what they’re doing and just because they said they were a former Spec-Ops operator doesn’t mean they are being honest.  That said, not everything needs to be high-speed, low-drag.  There are a ton of guys who don’t have national reps but who absolutely know their business and what they’re talking about and are awesome trainers.

Vet what you read as well.  Some of my friends in the law enforcement, firearms and tactics business are writers.  People such as Rich Nance, Bill Harvey, Walt Rauch, Dave Spaulding, Evan Marshal, Frank Borelli, Rob Pincus and others know what they’re talking about and have practical experience.  I’ve seen some others shoot and how shall we way – they scared the heck out of me…  Make sure that the writer you’re reading knows his business as well.

Professional instructors and LE writers invite close scrutiny because they are legit.  There are, quite simply, too many frauds and charlatans out there waiting to take your hard-earned dollars.

Listen, Practice, Learn and Assimilate 

First you hear and see the topic, tactic or technique.  Next you physically practice the move or action again and again.  First slow and segmented then fluidly and finally dynamically.  In this way, you actually learn the – grip, draw-stroke, empty-hand strike or kick, baton swing, dynamic use of cover, rifle reload, emergency driving technique, field interview tactic or vehicle stop approach.  You take that TTP - tactic, technique and procedure and truly learn it.  In that way you assimilate the material, you digest it and turn it into your own making it a part of you – a skill or TTP that you can perform without conscious thought and in the worst conditions possible.

Then when some bad actor in the dead of night attempts to take you on it and as John Wayne said in True Grit “You get crosswise of me you'll think a ton of brick had fell on you!” and all because you chose to listen.

There are things we want to hear and things we’d rather not.  Warnings, advisements, suggestions, complaints, insults and more will need to be filtered for the positive information they might contain.  But for every ten nonsensical and absurd points to ponder we’re forced to endure there is a gem that can improve and strengthen us and most importantly can keep us safer and harder to kill.

Be an active listener to your world, you’ll be surprised what good things you hear.


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About The Author:

Kevin Davis is a full-time officer assigned to the training bureau where he specializes in use of force, firearms and tactical training. With over 23 years in law enforcement, his previous experience includes patrol, corrections, narcotics and he is a former team leader and lead instructor for his agency's SWAT team with over 500 call-outs in tactical operations.

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