Implicit vs Explicit Action

How would you describe the way you train? I would venture to guess that most people train implicitly and intend to act explicitly if the time ever comes. Let’s define what I mean by implicitly and explicitly.

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Implicit

im·plic·it

[im-plis-it] adjective

1. implied, rather than expressly stated: implicit agreement.

When I refer to implicit, I mean that things happen on their own. When we train implicitly, our bodies take over and our conscious mind gets to go for a ride. In training this leads to a sort of training coma where your body just goes through the motions.

For example do you ever go to the range and just start blasting away without a plan or specific goal in mind? Probably not for serious training purposes. But on the street we hope to make our actions implicit. What I mean here is that our training should take over. If we have correctly identified and improved on our weaknesses, our skills should be able to take the reins in a critical incident without relying on explicitly conscious efforts.

Explicit

ex·plic·it

[ik-splis-it] adjective

1. fully and clearly expressed or demonstrated; leaving nothing merely implied;

If we want our real-world reactions to be implicit, we should conduct ourselves explicitly when training By this I mean that every action, movement, and thought we carry out in training should be intentional. Anything we repeat in our training is going to ultimately become a habit. Therefore, our goal should be to make sure we produce only good habits in our training. Training hundreds of repetitions without thought into each rep is going to create bad habits that will be hard to break.

On the street, on the other hand, explicit action is decidedly slower and less efficient. Drawing a pistol, or reacting to a knife should be quick, decisive, and thoughtless. The only explicit actions you should be taking in a life or death scenario should be the decisions about things like taking the shot, or whether to draw your pistol in the first place.

I never want to draw a pistol simply because some trained stimulus set some series of actions in motion. I want to make a conscious, deliberate decision to draw. Once I have made that decision, however, my training should do the work of putting the tools to use.

Do you train explicitly or implicitly?

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