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Relax…I’ve Got All the Time in the World….or Do I?

General_Stonewall_Jackson_small2The Defensive Training Group

“I yield to no man in sympathy for the gallant men under my command;but I am obliged to sweat them tonight, so that I may save their blood tomorrow.”
 – General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson

The clock is ticking, or as my very good friend over at WRSA and others say, “Tempus Fugit!”

Many people aware of the need for preparedness or involved in training with their ‘tribe’ might not understand just how valuable every single minute spent in training is for gaining the skills one requires to survive in battle or a SHTF situation.  This subject is more or less hammered on all the time by Mosby, Velocity, WRSA, Mason Dixon, and others.   Some make the mistake of thinking it’s purely marketing based, as those mentioned conduct training as a ‘hobby’ business, and they subsequently ‘poo-poo’ the idea of limited time available to increase one’s life expectancy.   It follows that there is a general lack of understanding that the training time available is not a renewable resource.

Time, whether wasted or spent wisely, will never be available again once it is past.  This fact takes on even a more serious tone when one looks at the probability of a day coming when training is no longer allowed either by legislative fiat or executive decree, or should the unthinkable occur, a serious attack on our state, locality, or nation that either cripples the economy (ensuing chaos as people get hungry, cold, and can’t go to the local “stop and rob” because it’s empty) or plunges into the kind of warfare that one thinks can only occur in the Middle East (bombings, attacks on civilians, etc), or worse, the Balkanization of the continental US that will overwhelm the local police forces in short order.  In a way, this lack of knowledge is understandable, as some have had formal military training in the very basics of combat and therefore lack the frame of reference, education, and field training that provide such.  The number of combat trained and experienced veterans, however, has exponentially grown in the last ten years with the adventures in the sand box.  Many of these are not involved in the preparedness or liberty movement for one reason or another, at least by the evidence demonstrated by participation (or lack thereof) at local training events, offers of passing on that knowledge to interested persons, or via op-eds, blog commentary, or whatever (the precious few that are out in front (SF Medic, Mosby, American Mercenary, Max Velocity, this blog, etc.) are doing a yeoman’s work in providing maximum return on the time spent learning for the student).

However natural the mindset of thinking one has all the time in the world may be, it is a veritable death sentence being imposed by the malaise of the individual him or herself.  Ignorance, no matter how innocent, will kill those who are unprepared when the unthinkable happens.  And by the looks of things, it will happen.  When, not if, is the only question left.  And that ‘when’ looks to be sooner rather than later.

In order to understand the import of time and availability for training balanced against the urgency of each person to become as skilled as he or she possibly can before “the day” arrives, one might want to count a single year’s allotment the ‘average’ person can squeeze out of their schedules.  A day a month for 12 months, without fail, only provides 96 contact hours when using an 8 hour allotment for training.  Some might say, “Well, I do 12 hours when I train.”  Ok.  Great.  Up the amount available to 144 hours.  Let’s average that between the low and high:  120 hours more or less.   The equation doesn’t take into account meals and other necessary lag time (like range relay set up) and breaks while training.  Cut off another 16 hours (reasonable time in that normally folks take an entire hour to eat and rest) for that and you have 110 hard contact hours left to learn and hone the skills you’ll need to live through your first “incident” or a SHTF situation.

Enough math.  But you get the picture.  You might be thinking, “Well, that’s not bad.”  No, it’s not, but consider that when one is learning at a professional level, say in the military, courses run from about 240 hours to over 2,000 hours, depending on the specialty (or MOS, AFSC, etc) held.  So at the low end, for a very basic course of instruction, professionals spend more than twice the amount his or her civilian counterpart preparing for SHTF spends in an entire year.  And this if the person faithfully trains every month without fail.

Let that sink in.

We can’t do much about that, as we don’t get paid to train and don’t have the support apparatus and endless funding the military does.

What we can do, though, is make every single minute we have available for training count.  At the risk of being redundant, understand that  when you train, you don’t have time to waste!  Showing up late, showing up with out a training plan (if you’re the trainer), showing up without the correct mindset, showing up not ready to learn or anything else negative is tantamount to painting a bulls eye, a little at a time on your hips and head.

Everything you do during your training needs to have purpose.  That purpose, plainly, is to develop your individual and team capabilities to perform your mission.  Your mission?  Protect your family, neighborhood, community, county, state, and ultimately, your country.  From whatever enemy surfaces.

Regarding the difficulties of physical training, know that those who conduct the training are doing so at a relaxed pace so participants don’t stroke out or die in place from heart failure.  Developing the personal discipline necessary to stay fit to endure the training and actually improve helps both the trainer and the participants.   The better shape you’re in, the more you will get out of the training.  As the quote at the beginning of the post from one of my personal hero’s, General “Stonewall” Thomas Jackson, CSA, says, sweating today means bleeding less tomorrow.  Hardship during training helps extend life during battle.

If you’re a Team Leader conducting local training, it is incumbent upon you to have a training schedule ready to implement when training startsj.  Your schedule needs to come from your comprehensive Plan of Instruction (if you don’t have one, Dr. Joseph P. Martino’s “Resistance to Tyranny” includes a template in Chapter 15) that takes your people from known to unknown; simple to complex skills and task performances.  If you don’t have the expertise to teach, find someone in the group who does.  Get word to your people on what will be covered so they can tailor their gear to the day’s training objective and not become frustrated because they are carrying everything but the kitchen sink with them (if they are, a class in ruck sack packing is in order).  Economy is key here.  Don’t put your folks in the position of having to waste time unpacking or repacking their rucks or patrol packs for the day’s mission.  There’s no return in it.  Remember that if you’re a team leader, you’ve signed on to the responsibility of doing your level best to provide the skills they need to make it through nasty situations if at all possible.  Fulfilling that responsibility is a lot easier if the team members are well trained and confident in their abilities.

Team Members – Arrive 30 minutes prior to training time start and gear up.  Don’t wait, be ready.  Come ready to learn and participate.  Pay attention to the class and contribute your own knowledge and perceptions during discussions.  If you don’t think something will work, be constructive in your dissent.  Explain why you don’t think it will work and then offer an alternative or suggestion on how to make the original idea better.  Remember, each person your training with may be the one who holds your life in his hands.  Part of training is discipline.  If you can’t discipline yourself to do things you don’t like in a safe training environment, how are you going to discipline yourself to perform in a firefight when S has HTF?

Everyone should take as much training as possible.  If you can save up or sell “stuff” you don’t need/want and go to any of the classes offered, sign up and go!  If you’re not in that position and you have someone offering localized training, get in the next available class!  Get a return on the investment of time you are spending.  Find out if your gear is field worthy – use it as it was intended to be used.  Read supporting material on your own.  Find information and share it with the group.  Have a martial artist in your network?  Ask for some hand to hand training.  Have a former Infantry NCO, Ranger, SF, AFEST, Force Recon type in your group?  Ask for patrol, static defense, tracking, infiltration, or anything they would like to teach…..and soak it up like a sponge!

If you’re in a group that has leadership that doesn’t lead or take your mandate seriously enough to ensure you get good returns on the time available to train, find new ones that do.

Each of us has more control over his own fate than he realizes, if only he would take it upon himself to discipline his desires and train in earnest!

Remember, the clock is ticking……fast.

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