Three Critical Parts of the Training Pyramid

  • Beau Doboszenski, Owner/Lead Instructor

  • Originally published February 1st, 2017

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Training is something that I not only talk about a lot, but I live it every day, and it's a lot more nuanced than I often verbalize. So in this training newsletter, let me try to give you an overview of three parts of training that need your attention, the training of physical, mental, and emotional/spiritual aspects of defense.

On the physical side this doesn't simply mean shooting. As defenders we should know and embody several combatives styles, we should explore edged and impact weapons, and we should certainly be working on our physical capacity with strength, conditioning, and cardio training. Figure out which of these areas you are lacking and then look into how you could bolster those areas. Do you need to get back into the gym? Have you not picked up a solid combatives system? Never really thought much about that knife in your pocket? Take some time to really explore those defensive elements so you don't become a one-dimensional defender.

Mental training is about curiosity, honesty, and discipline. One of the hardest mental training aspects for me is to maintain the ethos of "no ego" in instruction and training. I've made it a personal decision to remain a lifelong student of defense. That means that I must remain open to new ideas and combat proven skills, but more importantly, I must stay focused on the why. There is so much sparkle and hype in the firearms and defensive world that it is easy to slip down the rabbit hole of glam and shiny tools and trainers that you can forget to ask the ultimate question: "Why would I do/use/engage like that?" Watch other people training and ask yourself why they're training that way. Look at your own training and ask if you're missing an element that you should be working on. Look at what you've been training a lot, and ask if you really need that skill, or if you'd be better served, as a defender, to be working on something else?

The last part of our training triangle is the emotional/spiritual aspect of training. We as humans are "spiritual" beings, as a libertarian myself, I'll let you decide what that means for you, but for defensive training it means two things: to have a purpose or reason to train, and I accept that my emotional state can influence my training. On purpose, if you have never sat down, by yourself, and really really figured out exactly what you're preparing to defend, you need to. That purpose will drive you through the hardest training days you can imagine. It's why I always ask at every training session: "For the sake of what are you here? What are you getting by giving me/you this time?" Knowing the answer to this question will change your training life.

If you don't believe that your emotional state effects your training, go watch some absolutely heart wrenching man-movie like "The Road" or "Saving Private Ryan" and then head to the range for a training session. I can almost guarantee that you'll shoot like crap. From time to time, that emotional state will take a toll on how effective your training can be, so be ready to stick to the fundamentals, go slow, and give yourself a break. If you're used to getting first shot on target in 1.8 and you can't get a 2.2 to save your life, that's just not your day! Slow down, keep building good neural pathways, and be ready to come back to speed later.