Crucibles

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“A situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new.”

Some training is a crucible, a trial demanding all you have and more, and challenging your notions of your own capacity across layers of skills.

The kind that makes you nervous just contemplating it.

When you are just so tired, you started at noon and its 2am the next morning and you are still at it and gearing up to do another run – and you know you will do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. It’s pitch black when the lights go out, though all your practice was in the day time. You have to multi-task now and run everything with lights and lasers. Tests of competencies that start to fall off under duress.

It’s in the 90s with 90% humidity, and you are fully geared up, including the gas mask you wear every stinkin’ run, and you can’t breathe very well, and you can’t hear for various reasons, and everything you say to your partners goes unheard or misunderstood and you are pressed, from all sides, all the time, and damn it hurts when you take another mag of simulated training rounds from one side – and then another. You were given a short look at the tactics they want you to run but not enough to get any good at them and you screw everything up. With more epic fails than before and you start to question your qualification to even be here, doing what you are doing.

The lessons are written in bruises and scabs from the rounds all over your arms and legs and hips and ass, that you discover when, exhausted, you peel off your sweat-sopped clothes, so wet you may as well have jumped in a swamp.

Deeper lessons are marked by irritability, impatience, even anger. With your instructors, your partners (most of whom you don’t even know), and yourself. And then you do it again.  And again.

This isn’t about Embracing the Suck. This is The Suck embracing you.

It gets down to a core part of you when you go through something like this. You are broken down in many ways, before you climb back up.

Not a lot of people are comfortable with this kind of training. Afraid to put themselves out there, where egos are not simply bruised but battered, and in a way realistic to the problem tactically, technically, and psychologically. But after decades of training combatives and tactical disciplines, this is the kind that I like, and need the most, more than yet another feel-good class based on minimum standards or “wanting the student to be successful.”

Don’t read that the wrong way. I think most instructors want students to be successful; It’s just that most spoon-feed or softball their students to success.

Others basically demand the student be responsible for that success.

That’s how resilience is built.

 

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2 thoughts on “Crucibles”

  1. Wish I was there. That’s my grail training school.

    How applicable are the SOPs to patrol officers ? Could the SOPs be modified such that a basic officer could benefit from it; or is that asking too much of the curriculum/student?

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  2. The TTPs taught are applicable, just may not be what you do on your team. They want you to do their stuff, which adds to the stress when it all goes “high right.”

    Weapons manip, white light, and laser work is all applicable, and you will learn stuff here under duress that will challenge and grow your skill level. Other stuff too I won’t go into.

    The SOPs are military based, but would be applicable for a Beslan or Mumbai or Paris Nov ’15 type event. There, some of the follow-on stuff will be very different for LE (we are not going to exfil after a hit, for example.)

    There is a role for patrol as the security element, though IME most patrol won’t have the gear or the teamwork experience to do the other work.

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