As I like to do each year, I thought it would be a good time to set some general training goals for the year. I like to do this as I am a “To-Do List” kind of guy. I also tend to find it interesting how I veer off course each year. As a teacher, I should really do a better job of setting manageable objectives geared toward specific goals, but as I approach a decade on the training band-wagon (and a half-century of life on Earth), I am less and less motivated to do so. Nevertheless, I have not yet completely lost interest in training and bettering myself in the self-defense world, so here’s what I have planned so far.
Last year I focused almost exclusively in non-firearms training, with a strong focus on unarmed/minimally armed combatives. Personally, I felt that, given my lack of prior training in these areas, I had a pretty strong showing. Especially for a diminutive, not-very-athletic, rapidly aging guy. I must say that, in addition to the gains I made, I also had FUN! I can see why so many find the unarmed combative arts so addictive. Accordingly, I will continue to explore these areas this year. I have already signed up for two such classes (though I already had to bail out of one due to my nose not being fully healed from a class last year…..I’ve bumped to a different course later in the year), but I may still add two more (or perhaps even more!).
I also plan to continue my love affair with scenario-based, force-on-force training. Until the training community fully embraces (and tech companies fully develop) virtual reality training (which I believe will represent the future of scenario-based training), force-on-force classes remain the closest thing to reality for normal Earth people. So I expect to find my way to at least one such course, either as a student or possibly even as a dedicated role player. We shall see. But I will reiterate, as I wrote last year, that this type of training is something that all concealed carry practitioners should avail themselves of.
That is really all I have planned. I am done with “certificate hunting”, standing in lines shooting drills. With the amount of training I have had up until now, I can do that pretty well on my own. There may be times when I want to brush up on my skills (as I did last year with this class), but, even looking back at AARs I wrote in 2015, I always wanted to be more tactics/movement/scenario-based than just standing in lines, shooting at targets together.
I shot in seven matches in 2020 and six in 2021. I hope to at least match my 2021 number this year. I find matches to be invaluable as practice/testing sessions. My skills with a handgun began to measurably and quickly improve when I began shooting matches in 2016. I see no reason to give that up. Six IDPA matches would equal less than a case of ammo fired (I typically shoot about 100 rounds per match), and I have plenty stocked up.
The training group of which I am a member (which is primarily made of current and former military/law enforcement/intelligence officers continues to meet monthly, weather be damned. I only miss these sessions due to family travel or to classes that happen to fall on the same days. I plan to continue with this group, as we are starting to be a bit more formal with skills development month-to-month.
Personal fitness remains, in my opinion, the most important thing a person can do to better him or herself in all facets of life, but particularly when it comes to self-defense. I have been doing really well with this of late. The purchase of a replacement—and better—stationary bicycle that my wife and I share has been a welcome addition to our “gear”, and I have been making regular use of it. (Riding the stationary bike is also a great time to watch training DVDs to review skills!) I plan to continue with my personal regimen throughout the year, with informal goals to lose about 8 more pounds (I’m down about 6 right now), increase my cardio endurance (this was found wanting in a few classes in 2021), and improve strength and power. I would like to enter the next decade of my life without anyone saying that I have a “dad bod”. It also really helps with concealing a handgun.
I have not bought a firearm since 2018, nor much in the way of gear. Frankly, I am proud of that. I’m sick of chasing performance (and fads) by throwing money at guns and gear. I love guns, and with more substantial resources I would own many more. But for me, firearms almost exclusively fill utilitarian roles. Commonality of sights/triggers/platforms (something else I more or less standardized for myself back in 2016) have also helped contribute to improvements I made in performance.
Having said that, I expect that I will buy one firearm in 2022 (and sell one as well). We shall see.
I have been focused much more on reading this year rather than writing. I made seventeen posts in 2021 on this blog. While it is possible that I can equal or better that number, at this moment I find that….unlikely. Sorry, just being honest. But you never know….
That’s really about it.
What do you have planned for the year? I recommend getting SOMETHING down on paper. It helps.
As always, thanks for reading. Please share your thoughts below, as we always welcome civil discourse.