Ever since I started training people in the fighting arts for a living, I have kept very meticulous records. Not only is it important for potential future legal action, it’s a great marker for tracking progress and improvement.
Each year at this time, I do a review of what I did in the previous 12 months and how I want the next 12 to look. It’s a very useful exercise that I would encourage everyone to do. No one will make continued, structured improvement unless he has a plan of action. Here’s what I did last year and how I need to improve upon it in the future….
Personal Firearms Training
Last year I shot 12,965 rounds in training. I spread those rounds over 103 different shooting sessions. That is an average year for me. For the last 5 years I have been averaging between 10,000 and 15,000 rounds fired each year. A lot of those rounds were provided by the police department, but a significant portion were purchased on my own dime. That’s quite a bit of money spent on ammunition!
I met my training goal which was to shoot at least once every three days while I was at home in the USA (I spent six weeks last year traveling outside the country where it was difficult to shoot) and to fire at least 12,000 total rounds.
Next year, this shooting schedule will be difficult to maintain. My full-time training job was eliminated at the police department and I’ve been re-assigned to patrol. I won’t be spending nearly as much time as last year teaching on the range and will consequently be firing fewer demo rounds in class.
My 2013 goal is to fire at least 500 rounds per month and to supplement my live fire training with more dry practice. I’ve ordered a SIRT training pistol and plan to work with it at least twice a week for the entire year. I believe this regimen will certainly maintain my skill set and may even allow me to make some significant progress.
In 2012, I didn’t spend nearly enough time working with my carbines and sniper rifle. I plan on restructuring my round count in 2013 to shoot a smaller percentage of rounds with my pistols and a greater percentage with my rifles.
Professional Training and Education
In 2012, I took 96 hours of professional training from other instructors. I met my goal of getting at least two weeks (80 hours) of training in the books. I took the following classes:
- Glock Armorer’s School (for the fourth time)
- ILEETA International Training Conference. The notes from all of the classes I took are HERE
- Ohio Ethics Law Update
- FEMA- IS-00907- Active Shooter. Course summary and evaluation HERE
- OPOTA- New OH-1 Crash Reporting Guidelines
- Rangemaster-How and Why Our Students Continually Win Fights-
- Shivworks- Managing Unknown Contacts
- OPS- Tactical Eclecticism
I took the previous three classes at the Paul Gomez Memorial Training Event. Notes HERE
- LouKa Tactical- Understanding and Training the Female Shooter. Class summary HERE
- OPOTA- Awareness and Response to Human Trafficking
- Colt- Colt M-16/AR-15 Armorer School (for the second time). Notes HERE
- ATK Ammunition- Wound Ballistic Workshop. Summary of findings HERE
I know many of you think that 80 hours a year isn’t enough training for a professional. It really depends. Earlier in my training career, I averaged more than 300 hours a year of professional instruction. As I progress, I see less and less benefit obtained for each hour of training conducted. I’ve already seen most of the good stuff out there! Taking a week-long class to get just one new technique isn’t a productive use of my time. I’m going to maintain my 80 hour training commitment in 2013 and focus my efforts on attending classes that are outside my skill set and will help me grow as an instructor.
I will continue to share what I learn in my training classes with all of my readers on this site. Even if you can’t attend some of the cool classes I go to, you can still get some quality knowledge by reading regularly.
I believe self study is even more important than taking classes. I learn A LOT from reading books. It seems to be a losing battle getting Americans to read more, but I don’t think there’s a better way to get smarter about any chosen topic. In 2012 I read 209 books. 176 of them were non-fiction. I usually read about 150 books a year, so 2012 was an aberration.
I think there are two reasons I read so many books last year. The first is that I got a new Kindle Reader. I love reading traditional books, but I read a lot more when I have 3000 books at my fingertips at any given moment. If you want to read more, get an E-Reader.
The second important factor in my increased reading was getting rid of television. A couple months ago I got rid of the television in my house. I wasn’t a big TV watcher before, but I watched occasionally. Now, without the ability to watch TV, I spend more time reading and writing. It’s been a good move. The smartest people I know don’t watch television. Have you ever wondered why they call it TV “programming”? Kill your television and your life will improve. I expect to read even more in 2013.
In 2012, I taught a total of 13 classes on my own and three more as a co-instructor at TDI. I had 261 students in my own classes and an additional 75 or so in the classes I co-taught at TDI. These numbers don’t include the dozens of classes I taught at the police department.
I also presented at one professional training conference (The Paul-E-Palooza).
This met my goal of teaching 12 classes and presenting at one major training conference.
Next year I hope to teach at least 15 classes on my own. I will be presenting material for at least two professional training conferences (Paul-E-Palooza and The Rangemaster Tactical Conference). I have nine classes already scheduled and am working on finishing up the details for at least three more, so it looks like I’m on my way!
I put up this website in March of this year. In less than one year’s time it has far exceeded my expectations. I’m averaging about 26,000 unique viewers and 100,000 pageviews a month. Last month I crossed into Alexa’s top 1 million websites worldwide. In speaking with professionals in the field, these seem to be very good numbers for the first year in a small niche like combatives training. I’m happy with them as I built the site entirely myself without any assistance or previous website development knowledge!
I posted 235 different articles. I wrote all but one of the articles myself. I can see my writing skills improving daily from all of the practice I get. My goal for 2012 was to create a website and publish at least three articles a week. Goal accomplished!
For 2013, I plan on publishing at least four articles a week and incorporating more guest content. I’m already working with a couple of potential guest writers. If you can write clearly and have something useful to say, get in contact with me. If I think your article will be of interest to my readers, I’ll publish it here!
Magazine and Web Writing
In 2012, I published five different magazine articles for print outlets. One of my articles “Mob Mentality” made it into Primedia’s Personal and Home Defense Annual. That was one of the first “big name” magazines to publish my work. In addition to the print work, I had nine more articles reprinted on various websites including two at SurvivalBlog.com. My handgun stopping power and school shootings articles were the two most read stories of last year on the Buckeye Firearms website.
For 2013, I have already sold two articles. One, an article on concealed carry for bicyclists will appear in Concealed Carry Magazine in April. An updated version of my handgun stopping power article will appear in American Handgunner next month. I plan to focus most of my writing efforts on creating quality content for this site next year. I will probably write a few more print articles, but I want to spend more time building quality material here and potentially working on a book or two.
How did you do in 2012? What are your goals in 2013? Think about it for yourself and WRITE IT DOWN! Share your goals in the comments below if it will provide extra motivation. If you would like to see me offer some different classes or suggest a topic for an article, please add your comment below!