Imagine for a moment if you will, a class of students attentively studying the art of swimming. The instructor, ostensibly an expert swimmer with vast and honorable credentials, certified by the international swimming associations and such, calmly walks up to the class wearing an impeccable gray business suit and begins lecturing on swimming. The environment is totally business-like, clinical, comfortable and of course, dry. the students are clothed in similar business attire to the instructor, doing their very best to emulate him, no….worship him, and notes are being taken as they sip water or coffee.
The renowned lecturer, perhaps an actual master swimmer in the water, goes on to describe the need to float, and to move the arms and legs in unison, this way and that. He discusses in passing how to breathe and what water temperature may do to the technique. He discusses warm water and cold water swimming methods, and he shows films of swimmers, and analyzes their techniques.
Finally, after discussion groups and several written tests, the class understands the concept of swimming.
Then they retire to their respective swim couches and practice their strokes carefully and incessantly. After a while they very good at this and can whip out a back stroke or breast stroke or even a dog paddle like the expert in class. They are given Swimmer Diplomas and sent out ready to swim, or teach others how to swim….should the need arise. In their hearts, they love the Master Swimmer like a father and they deify every word that comes from his mouth.
Eventually these would-be swimmers begin discussing the merits of pumping the arms more than the feet, or of holding the breath or the theoretical need to get the head up out of the place the water would be, if in fact they were actually swimming in water, in order to breathe. Minutia upon minutia are analyzed and discussed to perfect “the couch swim”.
But the problem is that nobody ever gets into the water. You see, the water is a fearful place. One actually gets wet. “There be dragons” seems to be the attitude. “The water is not safe”, some say. Others say that the mere suggestion that one would have to test the Master Swimmer’s Theory Of Swimming, by actually swimming, to be a disloyal and unfaithful act.
“Analytical swimmers do not need to get into the water”, others murmur like a mindless prayer, as they grind through their swim kata every day.
The discussions on minutia and the unanswered questions persist. Yet if one of them dared to wander into the murky wetness, all the questions that they have spent hours and hours bemusing would be answered in one instant flash of sudden understanding.
I’ll let you in on a secret. It is a dark and ugly secret that has been kept hidden like a national security issue for decades.
Most master swimmers do not, in fact, know how to swim.
They can teach you the technique for making swimming motions on a safe couch, but they know nothing of the water. The couch swim doesn’t work in a pool, much less in the ocean. Their students would drown.
That is a fact they would kill to keep hidden, because they have invested so much in their teaching methods and technical presentations.
Quite an illustration isn’t it? Much the same can be said for many other things in life from driving, to mating, to actually having to make a living in the “cold cruel world”. One of them is Gun Fighting.
I get students from range-based schools, and their proponents all the time. These guys and gals have been drilled into the indoctrination of how to stand perfectly, how to draw correctly, and of course, how to carefully use the sights to precisely fire a surgically placed pair into a piece of paper.
They have spent their training time perfecting their stance, or focusing more on their front sight, or reacting to the first tone of the whistle or tone. Slight changes in holsters, or triggers, or grips, or other incomprehensible irrelevancies filled their study time.
These things do not last more than the first few minutes of one of our force on force classes. In the first hour, we toss out years of training right out the proverbial window. Is it any wonder the swimming master gun instructors would like all of this to go away? Yet, some of our heresy and blasphemies have spread through the cracks into other other’s curricula. Formerly square-range based, they hesitatingly want to put a toe into the water without getting their carefully pressed Royal Robbins tuxedo wet. You see, it is impossible to hide the truth in the age of the internet.
I have seen them come and draw and fire, then and only then taking a quick single side step so as to give passing lip service to getting off the line of fire, getting off the “X”, without altering their precise sight picture and carefully developed stable platform.
The open mouth and furrowed brow that results from their failure in force on force is almost uniform.
If only people would simply get into the water…into the Force on Force crucible, all things would be known immediately like the dripping swimmer who has just completed his first pool workout.
In a handful of chaotic and often intense seconds, the force on force student knows more about gunfighting than the untested range instructor who has been shooting groups all his life. And in that sudden fearful realization of what combat is really all about, and in how easy it is to still get killed in spite of all your marksmanship skills, your view on things and your focus in training will change. Things will never be the same again.
Stop being the theoretical dry couch swimmer and jump into the freaking pool. Heck, just think of all the time and money that will be saved once you have the “secret” knowledge that so many are trying to keep from you. Put down your range bag, grab an Airsoft pistol and a training partner and step into the light.
Spaniard by Heritage
Cuban by Birth
Christian by Grace
American by Choice