“When any person, idea, technique, school, piece of gear, team or tactic is put on a pedestal, we risk stopping progress.” Rob Pincus

If you’ve picked up on one thing about me through my blogs it’s that I don’t like egos! I get along with about any type of person in the world, my only exception being those with egos! In the self defense (and martial arts) field there are plenty of egos…drives me nuts. When I talk to these guys it amazes me how many take offense if you have a different opinion on a technique or tactic. My thought is that nobody can possibly be right 100% of the time about everything and if we think that we are we shut ourselves off from learning because we think that we are THE authority and know it all. Sheesh.

Our system gets better because people question me, show me their answer to a problem and generally disagree with something. We have made many changes in our system because someone brought up a good point or had a technique that was better than what we were showing for the problem that was presented. One thing I respect about my group of instructors is that we want to learn, want to get better and don’t think we are “it”. If we wanted to make our group look like “the authority” we wouldn’t change or take advice. We honestly are here to make people safer. We do not make people safer by thinking we have all the answers and don’t need to look at how anyone else is doing things.

I just finished teaching a Krav Maga Law Enforcement Instructor course in Colorado with my good friend (and super cop) Brannon Hicks. The group loved us, it was really good training. Guess what, Brannon and I each learned a couple of things this week from this group that we are adding to what we teach. We had a group of good cops and security people who had been exposed to other training and who did a few things differently. We could have acted like our system was THE answer and didn’t care about what they knew. Instead, if we saw something different we asked them to show it to us again, we wanted to learn. We found a few new things and now we can make our law enforcement students even safer!!

When I teach new instructors I always make the statement “If you have a question or another way of defending what we are showing please speak up. This is how we learn and make changes. You may have a better way and we’ll steal it from you. I only ask that if you have another way of doing something that you be able to articulate why it is better. Because this is the way you have always done it or this is the way you have practiced it for years isn’t a good reason.”

Instructors, if you look at questions as being disrespectful and a threat to your authority I really think you need to examine why you are teaching. Be open, listen, don’t dismiss things offhand but give them a try. This is how you evolve and learn. When people come to you to learn self defense they are literally putting their lives in your hands. Don’t teach bullshit from a system because it’s your system! The one time a student needs what you taught them to save their lives it had better have been the most up to date, scientific and battle tested stuff you could find! BE SAFE!


1 Comment

  1. Excellent post Mark! I think we all need to re-examine our teaching techniques periodically to make sure we really are teaching people to be safe!

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