Facebook, Ego, Arrogance & the Training Challenge

Video From July 20-21 Training Weekend
August 6, 2013
Training Video # 2 – E&E + Resistance to Interrogation
August 7, 2013
I’ll admit, I’m slightly warm as I’m writing  this post. I’m a little irritated, but it has spurred me to comment on an issue that I have contemplated posting about before. If you read this blog you will have seen the AARs from my students. You know the deal. So I usually try and stay out of the muck and avoid cuss words. Not today, I’m getting stuck in!
I don’t bring ego to my instruction. It’s not ‘about Max’. You can see that reflected in the AARs. I have a desire to instruct and I love the subject matter: small unit tactics. Always have. The students also don’t bring ego. They come to learn, absorb, and take away what they learn in the weekend. Crawl, walk run.
There is a lot of talk about the ‘Patriot Community’. Well, I’m here to tell you the reality: It’s a fucking cluster. I’ve also commented and posted before about the ‘virus’ of this ‘CQB’ style training and how it affects what training civilians tend to get, and what they think is the right way to go about it. If people can’t get rid of their arrogance and ego, then they will not learn and move forward. There will be no ‘Team Patriot’.
There is a tendency for people to re-invent themselves and create a legend about who they are and what they have done or are capable of. I’ll get into more of that when I post the Facebook thing below. These guys did something for a minute, maybe they were prior service for five minutes in some sort of unit, whatever. Now they are the world’s fucking expert and feel obliged to sit at their keyboard and comment-snipe about shit they have no idea about. Wankers. Maybe all they ever did was read an FM or tactical pamphlet, or the Ranger fucking Handbook or something, and now they are full-on pamphlet warriors, expert at everything. These guys are living a make-believe legend in their own minds, their own egos.
Do me a favor, and get the fuck out and train, for real. I’ll train you if you can leave the two huge suitcases of ego at the property line, bring a decent attitude, and work hard. I’ve never had a problem with this from any of the really good guys who have actually shown up and worked their butts off for a weekend’s worth of training with me. 
“It’s not the critic that counts, but the man in the ring with the blood on his face.”
Here’s the thing about the ‘CQB’ ‘Tacticool’ thing on square ranges. OK, SWAT stuff originated from SOF dynamic entry stuff. Actually this was pioneered by the British SAS back in the day. Now, everyone wants to call themselves SWAT and do dynamic entry. Getting the gear does not make you the part: “All the gear no idea.” So now we have a bunch of tacticool goons running around making life very dangerous for law abiding citizens in their own homes. We also have guys exiting this job and selling the training to civvies who suck it up.
The thing about square ranges: they are part of a transition to field firing, to further training, at least they are supposed to be. They are not the end. If you stick on a square range, then you just develop fads and ridiculous stuff to do as instructors look for gimmicks to keep people interested. You learn how to get yourself killed in a firefight. Turning in slow circles and walking constantly around barrels comes to mind. When you see a guy walking forwards on a square range engaging targets, he is doing so because the purpose of that training originated with structure entry/clearance and he is simulating moving down a corridor or similar on a dynamic entry. If you think that is how you should operate ‘tactically’ out in the open then you are sadly mistaken. This is the problem. Tier 1 dynamic entry teams will practice movement, transitions and all the like on a square range and then they will go into a kill house and do it inside. In those circumstances, moving and taking cover is not the same as it is outside. The problem is that civvies who only know what they know or have watched on YouTube think that being ‘tactical’ is doing that stuff but out in the open. NO.
Anyway, I have digressed. The original point here was to talk about Facebook and the whole ego thing. I posted my video of the team doing ‘Team Break Contact Drills – Contact Front’ on my Facebook page. I got all sorts of tactical and intellectual midgets making sarcastic and critical comments. They were not there, they basically have no idea what they are talking about, yet they feel the urge to keyboard snipe with sarcastic remarks. I removed some of the most moronic comments and left a couple that turned into a discussion which I will paste below.
First, here is the video again, with explanation: LINK TO THE ORIGINAL POST
Team Break Contact – Contact Front – Day 2

I am adding this comment after I had some tactical midgets negatively comment when I posted it on Facebook. Irritated the hell out of me! This is not a promotional staged video, it’s real guys going through training. Below is pretty much what I said:

This video needs some explanation. For the uninitiated or tactically inexperienced it may be hard to follow, and it is not the best quality video. For those that commented about interval what you are seeing is myself and Sam (photographing) just ahead of the video guy, walking tight up the back of the patrol so I can immediately do safety once I have popped up the targets at the right moment. The patrol is decently spaced as instructed for the drill to be run on this range.
This is the second day of training and the first ever live team contact drill these guys have done and they did very well, armchair critics and keyboard commandos aside. There are two pauses in the suppressive fire in the video, one initially for safety as I push the right buddy pair further right for a safety angle, and then after the second contact when I tell a guy in the left buddy pair to move who has stopped to concentrate on a weapons stoppage. 
Once the patrol comes under contact, they move as instructed from single file into a rough line facing the threat to the front. They then fight back in buddy pairs until they break contact. There is the initial target that creates the ‘Contact Front’, and when I put that down the patrol begins to move back by bounding overwatch (no enemy (target) to shoot at). I then pretty rapidly put up a target quarter left (you hear a guy call “Contact Left!” which is not strictly accurate). The team then continues back by fire and movement. This is where the second pause comes in as a guy goes static trying to clear a serious stoppage. You see me walk over and encourage him to continue to bound back to get out of the contact and continue to try and clear it as he moves back. His buddy (it was actually a father and son buddy team) is still putting down fire to cover the other pair’s move, so it’s fine and the best way to get off the X rapidly.
After breaking contact, the team rallies into a hasty ambush security position. The hasty ambush is three guys covering back up the trail in case the enemy follows up, with one guy pulling rear security. Once they have checked each other and done any tactical reloads, they move off rapidly down the trail to escape the area.
Here is one of the Facebook Exchanges in response:
My last comment in full:

Yes, I am making a point, an example out of this. It is a teachable moment. Unless people can put aside their egos, realize that a lot of what they think they know does not make them tactically trained in reality, and open their minds to learn, then ‘Team Patriot” remains a cluster-fuck.

I remember asking a soldier on a Monday morning why he had a bad black eye (as if I could not deduce it, but it was always fun to ask, and also to ask if they won and if they were caught by the cops, the important parts as far as I was concerned). An NCO chipped in before he could answer: “He was talking when he should have been listening.”
So here is my advice. If you really do have a lot to learn, and also if you are nothing more than a square range ninja, then seek out someone who can train you in real tactics. Less talking, less sarcastic keyboard snipes, more listening.
Get out there and get it done.
Live Hard, Die Free.


  1. You’re dead nuts right about the ‘community’ being a cluster fuck when it comes to working together. Ego has been, is, and will continue to the be the problem.

    Unless and until we get past that little barrier, we are not going to get very far when/if (God forbid) it goes down.

    As for the detractors, Max, FEABS (Fuck ‘Em All But Six (and save them for pall bearers))…..you’re doing a good thing and don’t need to justify yourself to anyone.

    The ones who’s criticism count are the ones who provide the constructive kind, ie, “how can this be made better?”….which implies they’d have to have been through your course or one very similar.

  2. Sam says:

    Amen, Max. Keep up the great work.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I feel moved to comment here as I am the one Max had to gently put the boot to during the exercise as I forgot it was probably better to move to cover and avoid getting shot rather then sort out a weapons malfunction whilst relaxing on the X. Upon reflection, it’s pretty good advise. As a former Marine (0311) I have reasonable grasp of which end of the firearm points down range and have been known to place rounds in the general vicinity of a target at distance. I also can testify that Max is correct in saying that even a great many prior service personnel don’t get this kind of training. My partner for the course is a currently serving officer and he sure didn’t either.

    The other participants in our class were very experienced rifle and pistol shooters, some prior service some not. One or two engaged in competitive shooting. All benefited greatly from the training experience and environment at Max’s facility. No egos were present, all were there to learn and all came away with more than they arrived with. Perhaps the most value was derived from being able to spend time with an instructor that “has been there and done that” and has the God given gift of being able to teach. The beginning of wisdom is an appreciation of your own ignorance. It is at that point you are ready and able to learn and if you are at that point I urge you to contact MV. The training environment, the methods, philosophy and content of instruction are worth many times the price of admission. Even for the experienced “operator” there is something to be had as Max’s operational background is really quite unique. Having access to someone with this knowledge and these skill sets is priceless. Hell, it might even save your life someday. My buddy and I are already checking our calendars. We’ll be back. With friends. Hillary might need a village, I need a team.

  4. Iron OX says:

    I guess I shouldn’t be amazed about the comments you got on facebook. Though I can see the reason for your irritation with these jagoffs on the web. That looked like an excellent drill to me, with a 4 man team splitting as they pull back so they cannot get surrounded and destroyed. When I was in the USMC we would do a similar drill with squad to platoon size elements. Though when you got to the platoon size it was almost better to execute the aussi peel instead. Also depended on the terrain we were working with. The real life killing changed very dramatically for me in between LRP’s, to open stinking desert, to fighting in the 4 dimensional battlefield of urban combat in Fallujah. ALL required different skill sets and training to survive and thrive.

    To be perfectly honest Max I hope these guys don’t come to your school and learn how the professionals in small unit tactics do things. While it hurts your bottom line financially, which i apologize for, I would prefer to see people I might have to be facing clearing weapon stoppages in the open just like they do on a regular range. Or not being able to effective maneuver, fire, take cover and watch their partners advance/retract all at the same time through brush. The subtly of these skills sets seems to be lost on these people with the ego problem.