The Power of Improvisation

Thursday of last week I had the pleasure of watching Sandy “perform” in front of a room full of bankers.  She was doing a presentation on our strategic growth program and was in the process of directing everyone through the multiple spreadsheets she had assembled for the meeting.

She was commanding, and exuded confidence.  When one of her audience members interrupted her with a question she was able to answer in quickly and cogently and then quickly return to the presentation.

To say that the environment she was presenting in was stressful would be the ultimate understatement.  (I was terrified just being in the room!)  and, while her presentation was scripted, she had achieved such a command of her material that she was able to field questions on the fly without being knocked off her game.  She had achieved a level of unconscious     competency.  She could operate in this stressful environment, without thinking about operating.

Contrast this to our last Post CCW class.

(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here:)

In our Post CCW class we focus heavily on tactics, and especially taking students out of the mindset of being target shooters and instead put them in scenarios where they are required to act more as gunfighters.

Often times we have CCW clients that are experiencing for the first time the necessity to operate in a hostile environment pursuing a singular objective.  Many of them become focused more on the tactics then in the objective.

Since they are thinking about their tactics… thinking about their weapons manipulations… and yes even thinking about the legal implications of their actions they lose the cognitive ability to improvise when new or unexpected events take place.

Some of them excel… like Sandy they have achieved a level of unconscious competency where their cognitive brain functions allow them to observe an adapt to their environment.  Others are only consciously competent.  They are still focusing on their actions and not their objectives.  They “do it right”… but they need to think about doing it.  With so much of their grey matter being taken up with the choreography they freeze when something planned manifests in front of them.

This weekend we are hosting Steve Tarani, one of the worlds foremost knife fighting experts.  Unlike Sandy, (who carries a curved blade krambit) my ability to manipulate an edged weapon on anything other than a ups box is limited.

Were I to unfortunately find myself in an altercation with someone with a knife and I was without my firearm,  (Here in the States highly unlikely… but when I’m in Europe I don’t have access to a gun) I would still be at a skill level that would require me to consciously think about my defenses and my actions.  Already behind the power cure, my ability to survive that encounter would be marginal.

As my skill sets with a blade, or unarmed defenses to an edged weapon increases my ability to allow my body to react in concert with my training and instead focus my cognitive abilities on defeating my enemy increases.

I can only achieve this through exposure to new skills, as well as receptive practice of those skills.

Will I be taking Steve Tarani’s class myself?

Of course.

Self assessment is the greatest methodology for self improvement.  Training requires discipline, and tamping down the ego and admitting you need training is step one in establishing the discipline necessary to get the most out of your training.

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