Slow is smooth & smooth becomes fast should be a guiding principle of all training programs. It reinforces the fact technique development is more important than speed. Over the years I have had the opportunity to train professionals from just about every walk of life. I have taught law enforcement, military, professional investigators, private security, and individuals. I discovered that it did not matter if the participant was a stay at home mom or the member of a SWAT team, one issue always seemed to creep in on a somewhat frequent basis. They desire to perform a new skill as if they had been doing it for their entire life.
As human beings, we want to do something the way we see others doing it. We often do not step back and consider how many years of training and practice it took for that person to develop their skill. Then, when we perform the same action, we become frustrated at ourselves for not being able to do it the way they do.
The truth is, not everyone is a born fighter or shooter. It does not matter who you are or what you have always been able to do. Most skills take time to develop. For example, consider the musical prodigy. Someone who can grasp concepts that drive others crazy, from the first time they step up to a piano. They have never merely sat at the piano and immediately played as if they have played for years. However, they develop musical skill very quickly, and in a relatively short period, they are playing music that others only dream about being able to play.
I have seen this same thing in firearms and self-defense training. Some people begin training for the first time and rapidly develop skills that enable them to perform like a pro. THIS IS NOT THE NORM! The rest of us have to work at developing those skills that seem to come so quickly to the “prodigy.” The reality is we can improve those skills if we put effort into it.
The first step is to accept the information and not work so hard at remembering it that we interfere with the learning process. My favorite example of this is remembering a phone number. Have you ever tried so hard to remember a phone number you prevented yourself from doing so? If you accept the information (phone number) provided, you will be able to recall it minutes later. Now you can write it down or type it in. However, if you force the information into your mind by repeating it over and over again in a rapid fashion, you seem to mix it up before you can do anything with it.
Our training can follow the same process as remembering the phone number. If we accept the information and practice it slowly, over time we develop the SKILL to perform the technique smoothly. That means completing each component of the overall technique successfully. As we continue to practice the technique smoothly, our mind accepts the movements as being natural or comfortable for us.
This mental acceptance enables our body to develop speed in the performance of the action naturally. Over time this movement or technique can become a conditioned part of who we are. Training enables us to perform it efficiently and effectively with less mental concentration. That is what is meant by “Slow is smooth and smooth becomes fast.”
Remember, your training is not a race to the finish line. It is a life-changing process that you should embrace and develop. Your safety is indeed your responsibility. Take the time to develop skills that will become a part of who you are so that you will not have to think about performing them. The key to staying safe is training!