That was interesting.
A new time frame-- 2x6.5 hours, with actual lunch breaks.
The youngest group I'd ever played with. Not just age. In most of the other classes I believe average martial experience has been over 15 years. So this group was young in a couple of ways. And it completely didn't matter.
One of the original issues with training cops is that there is a wide variety of skills and experience. You will get rookies who haven't even been to the academy yet, veteran meat-eaters who really know their way around a brawl and men and women right on the edge of retirement. You'll get gym rat tac guys and desk jockey investigators; people in great shape just out of military service and and guys who have spent most of the last ten or twenty years driving a car and eating junk food. And outside of work, some of them have been doing martial arts as a hobby since long before they were cops, some are competitive martial athletes and some have never taken a physical class of any kind since the academy.
You have to give them all something. And the skills have to work, despite size or strength disparity, because cops don't get to pick their bad guys and the stakes are high. If you teach shit you will wind up visiting hospitals or attending funerals.
It has to be easy enough for beginners to grasp; have insights that experienced martial artists can play with; physical enough for the meat-eaters but safe enough for administrations; challenging for everyone. So it's not a simple scale. An 'easy' class helps the beginners but bores the skilled. An 'advanced' class confuses the beginners. But that assumes 'easy' and 'advanced' are somewhere on a linear continuum and that assumption is a mistake.
So it was a good test and extra validation for the awareness-based-training model. Thanks, Mac. The student who said she had no training was redirecting heads into walls like everyone else by the end of the weekend. The instructor levels were working out how to adapt and analyze the information and drills.
Some of the lessons learned:
--Doing ConCom first really allows me to speed up part of the lecture, but only if everyone has attended ConCom. The Conflict Dynamics section of ConCom is similar but not the same as the Violence Dynamics section of Ambushes and Thugs.
--There are things I like teaching that are only important to certain audiences.
--I can cut three hours out of the program and not feel like I am withholding critical, life-saving information. Much. Still insecure about leaving anything out.
--The biggest issue that was left out are the little talks about how to coach some of the drills. Never realized how important that could be.
--I talk way too much and tell too many stories when I'm sleep deprived. I think these guys got more of the funny and icky stories than any other group. (Don't worry, I didn't waste much class time. It was mostly afterwards at dinner.)
So thanks to Brandon Sieg, an excellent host, and also a sincere martial artist who really wants the best for his students. He takes the responsibility very seriously, thinks and plans. He's created a FAST team that is both effective and creative, and a collection of good students (look at the students to see the instructor).
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