Definition of courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.


The Complete Combatant attracts a wide range of people, of all ages, shapes, sizes and gender. Often, The Complete Combatant is the first time for many to attend a professional training class. They are a bit apprehensive because they have no idea what to expect when they show up for class and sometimes they have never used the equipment they plan to train with, much less carried it on daily basis.

The world of the “self protector” is a foreign place to them but they summon the fortitude and determination to challenge themselves to learn. The courage it takes to decide “I will learn something new” is marvelous and fascinating to me. To immerse yourself in class, trying to absorb the torrent of information, and then perform it under the watchful eyes of the coaches and their peer’s takes courage.


In a short amount of time, I watch the bewildered expressions change to dawning knowledge when using the practical application of their new skills. Failure becomes victory and doubt becomes excitement while performing multiple tasks that no longer seem out of reach.

Watching this transformation is one of the great pleasures of teaching. Fear is a part of life, but learning to preserve under difficult circumstances is courage.  I want to thank everyone that courageously comes to training classes and learns the skills of the self protection. We can learn anything if we just take the first step, and then another…..


Putting it on the line….

To compete or demonstrate has a level of risk inherent to it. When challenged, you could perform perfectly or fail to demonstrate the skill necessary.


Why would any instructor or shooter take such a chance?

I recently attended the 20th anniversary Tactical Conference (Tac Con) hosted by Tom and Lynn Givens of Rangemaster. This is a smorgasbord of talented instructors from across the country where attendees can take 2-4 hours blocks of instruction in pistol, rifle, shotgun, legal, medical, combatives, and much more.

I was able to train with, or work the line with, many of the top instructors like Claude Werner, John Farnam, Ernest Langdon, and Gabe White. They all had many commonalities in their teachings, and they all demonstrated drills and skills they taught.

Many of the trainers also competed in the Polite Society tactical match where they competed with all who chose to put themselves on the line. Out of 160 men there were 38 shooters, including yours truly, that shot a perfect score of 200 on the timed paper match course. One of the most impressive “putting it on the line” moments to me was when the Tactical Professor, Claude Werner shot the course with a revolver, easily beating many of the semi-auto shooters on the reload portion.


In the semi-finals Tom Givens had us shoot the 5 Yard Round-up Drill. Mass Ayoob shot a perfect 100 and Gabe White shot a 99. I was able to shoot a 98 which was tied for 3rd top score on this particular drill. I invite you to check out this excellent article that Karl Rehn wrote about the 5 Yard Round-up Drill.

The top 16 men and the top 8 women continued on to the “man vs man shoot-off” (separate matches) where two contenders competed against each other striving for accuracy, ability to follow directions and speed using two mannequin type reactive targets and a popper. I was very happy to move on to the final match and so did my wife Shelley.  This was her first match and I am so proud of her. I do not personally know all of the shooters, but most were top level instructors. Competing against each other, pushing to be the best, and learning from our mistakes is what makes competition worthwhile. It was inspiring to watch and compete with all of these teachers that put it on the line.


Leading by example, and facing challenges, is the path of the warrior. Conducting yourself with courtesy and composure under pressure while demonstrating the mastery of the fundamentals of shooting is something we can all strive for in our training.

Compete, demonstrate, and test your skills. Some may believe that there is much to lose, but there is far more to gain by putting it on the line…..