Making Good Mistakes

Image by LorE Denizen

Do you make mistakes? Have you ever dropped a mag, fumbled a reload, had a malfunction? Have you ever done the wrong technique in a kata or zigged when you should have zagged? If not I need to shake your hand because you are a god.

If you do make mistakes, how often do they happen in training, and how do you react?

If you just stop and restart from the beginning, you are robbing yourself of precious opportunities to train yourself to respond to these mistakes. Take advantage of your mistakes and work through them. Remember you will fight as you train, so train as you fight. If you drop a mag on the range when you are trying to reload… keep going. Grab the other mag on your belt or pick it up (but be careful of muzzle discipline!). If you normally throw your hands in the air, curse yourself and reset to the beginning of the drill, then that is exactly what you can expect when the lead is flying. Learn to recover as cleanly and quickly as you can.

We are all human, so we can expect to make mistakes. Sure we will be laser focused with the addition of adrenaline, but our fine motor skills and judgment can be negatively affected. You will screw up eventually. Hopefully you won’t screw up when you really can’t afford to, but there are no guarantees. If you compete you probably will make a mistake in a match eventually. It’s a matter of probability.

From a similar perspective, I was taught as a student of Karate to always make the best mistake I could. If I was practicing a kata and did the wrong technique, I was always supposed to make sure I made that particular instance the best instance of that technique I could. Making a mistake shouldn’t stop you in your tracks and cause you to give up or restart. Make your mistake the best possible mistake you can. Then move on.

This same principle can be applied to your defensive firearms training. If your gun runs dry, it’s a perfect chance to practice reloading. If you have a malfunction, it’s a perfect chance to practice dealing with it. The same thing should apply if you screw up a reload. Don’t give up, just get that gun reloaded.

Take this concept with you and apply it to your training. Hopefully practice will make perfect some day and you won’t ever make a mistake. Call me when that happens so I can bow down to you. Until then capitalize on every mistake you make. A mistake in training is far better than a mistake on the street. And learning to recover from your mistakes can often make the difference between life and death.

Do you work through your mistakes? What kind of mistakes do you make in training?

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