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…..