Back in the earlier days of my blog, I used to write incredibly detailed posts about all the training and travel I completed each year. I talked about how many students and classes I had taught, rounds I fired, and books I read. You can read my older annual updates HERE
I enjoy sharing happy information with my readers. Life was happy. I was always looking for more and I was eager to share the lessons I learned with my friends and students. I hoped that by sharing exacting details about exactly how much of an over-achiever I was would inspire other people to train more. I’m not sure that strategy ever worked, but I was proud to list my annual accomplishments in the hopes that it would.
Then I got cancer. Life wasn’t so happy anymore. I only had five to 10 years left to live. My perspective changed. Suddenly, taking lots of new courses and spending hundreds of hours in shooting/fighting practice just wasn’t as important anymore. I decided I would rather spend my limited remaining time with loved ones and working on creating a legacy rather than totaling up and chronicling my accomplishments in a given year. I haven’t done a full yearly update since 2019.
Last year, I saw a lot of my training friends posting the lists of all the courses they had taken in 2022. I re-evaluated my position on end of the year review articles. While I’ll likely never do the complete detailed life reviews I once enjoyed posting, I can see some professional value in sharing the training classes I took last year. I wrote a post covering the classes I took in 2022 and am doing the same thing this year as well.
I think it is the job of a professional instructor to remain up to date in their fields of endeavor. I won’t stop taking classes as long as I am teaching these skill sets. I vow to never become one of those instructors whose peak instructional training is a weekend NRA class.
I think I owe it to my students to show them that I am continuing to do the work.
In 2023 I taught 35 days of training classes. I had 504 total students spread across those classes. That’s a solid second place yearly total number of classes/students for Active Response Training. In 2022, I had the highest number of students and classes ever (37 days and 612 students). Last year wasn’t quite as high as 2022 primarily because I had to take eight weeks off from teaching after my cancer surgery. The difficult economy also contributed to slightly fewer student enrollments.
Those numbers may not sound like much as compared to some of the higher volume instructors in the industry, but my totals might seem a bit more impressive if you consider I was also out of the country traveling and doing book research for seven weeks last year. I traveled within the USA for a couple of domestic vacations as well. I didn’t teach any classes during those time frames.
Here are the classes I attended as a student in 2023. Classes marked with an asterisk (*) are instructor level classes
2023 (116 hours)
Two Pillars Training- Crime, Criminals and Victimization- 2.5 hours
UT Opioid Overdose Prevention Train the Trainer- 1.5 hours*
EB Medicine- Laceration Management Tips- 1 Hour
LSM- Wound Management- 1 hour
NICABM- Psychology of Mass Shooters- 3 hours
Thunderstick Shotgun Summit- 24 hours
TMC- Reading Facial Expressions- 1.5 hours
Rangemaster- Professional Trainers Symposium- 10 hours*
Two Pillars- Crime and Criminals- Risks and Mitigations- 2.5 hours
As I mentioned above, I think it’s really important for trainers to stay current and keep learning new things. Ask your instructor what classes he/she took as a student last year. The answer should be something greater than “none.” I have more than 80 instructor certs and have completed more than 4,500 hours of tactical training as a student. I’m still seeking more.
One of the marks of a professional is that she is always seeking additional knowledge in her chosen field. If your instructor is resting on his laurels and hasn’t sought additional training since his rigorous weekend NRA instructor class 10 years ago, you should be looking for a new guru.
When you ask your instructors about the recent training classes they completed as a student, you will learn if your instructor is a professional or not. It will also give you good information about who you should train with next. If professional instructors are paying their own way to study under another instructor, that should be a clue about good places to spend your training dollars.
As for 2024, I’m already enrolled in Rangemaster’s Protective Pistolcraft Instructor certification. I’ll be taking as many classes as I can in between my teaching blocks at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference, The Thunderstick Summit, and Gunsite’s Revolver Roundup. I’m also presently enrolled in an online advanced tactical medicine course. I’ll probably pick up a few more tactical classes as my schedule allows.
I already have 39 days of training scheduled to teach in the coming year. I’ll probably add a couple more later in the year. I hope to see some of you in those classes.
Happy New Year from Active Response Training.