Over the years, I have had the opportunity to train professionals from just about every walk of life. I have trained law enforcement, military, private security, and individuals. I discovered that it did not matter if the participant was a stay at home mom or the member of a SWAT team, one issue always seemed to creep in on a somewhat frequent basis. They desire to perform a new skill as if they had been doing it for their entire life. As human beings, we want to do something the way we see others doing it. We often do not step back and consider how many years of training and practice it took for the performing individual to develop their skill. Then, when we perform the same skill we become frustrated at ourselves for not being able to do it the way we have seen it being done.

The truth is, not everyone is a born fighter or shooter. It does not matter who you are or what you have always been able to do. I frequently consider the musical prodigy. Someone who from the first time they step up to a piano they are able to grasp concepts that drive others crazy. They have never simply sat at the piano and immediately played like they have played for years. However, they develop musical skill very quickly and in relatively short period of time they are playing music that others only dream about being able to play.

I have seen this same thing in firearms and self-defense training. Some people enter the training for the first time and rapidly develop skills that enable them to perform like a pro. THIS IS NOT THE NORM! The rest of us have to work at developing those skills that seem to come so easily to the prodigy. The reality is we can develop those skills if we put the effort into it. The first step is to simply accept the information and not work so hard at remembering it, that we interfere with the learning process. My favorite example of this is remembering a phone number. Have you ever tried so hard to remember a phone number you actually prevented yourself from doing so? If you simply accept the information (phone number) as it is given to you, you will be able to recall it minutes later, so you can write it down or type it in. However, if you force the information into your mind by repeating it over and over again in rapid fashion you seem to mix it up before you can really do anything with it.

Our personal training can follow the same process as remembering the phone number. If we accept the information and practice it slowly, over time we develop the SKILL to perform the technique smoothly. That means performing each individual component of the overall technique successfully. As we continue to perform (practice) the technique smoothly, our mind accepts the movements as being natural or comfortable for us. This mental acceptance then enables our body to naturally develop speed in the performance of the movement. Over time this movement or technique can become a conditioned part of who we are. This enables us to perform it efficiently and effectively with less mental concentration. That is what is meant by “Slow is smooth and smooth becomes fast.”

Remember, your training is not a race to the finish line. It is a life changing process that you should embrace and develop. Your personal safety is truly your responsibility. Take the time to develop skills that will truly become a part of who you are, so that you will not have to think about performing them. The key to staying safe is training!