Comment requested on class scheduling, format etc

Response to a comment on the HIT article
August 13, 2013
Aug 3/4 Training Weekend AAR # 6
August 14, 2013
Following AARs conducted at the end of each class, and feedback from students, there is a general request for me to start scheduling additional courses such as patrolling and small unit tactics (SUT). I have discussed the matter with some students and I have still not come to a solid conclusion as to the best way to go about it. I would like comment and feedback if possible.
Right now I have the monthly combat rifle /contact drills courses scheduled till the end of the year. I’m not planning on changing that. When I publish the dates for the new year, I would like to include some patrolling/ SUT courses.
BTW: I would like to generate more interest in the September 14/15 class. October 13/14 is filling up nicely, and August 31st/ September 1st could do with a few more sign-ups. It is interesting because students have commented that they are surprised that there is not a waiting list for courses, but in reality people have to commit to move outside their comfort zone. Many are just not willing to. I also thank those who re-post me (WRSA in particular) for helping to get the word out about the existence of my courses.
Regarding class scheduling, the issue that I am struggling with is as follows:
My classes involve live firing. I believe that is necessary to achieve the necessary realism and training. I am concerned that if I lay on a patrolling/SUT class and students have not completed my combat rifle class, then I will either run  into safety issues or have to spend a lot of training time effectively running a combat rifle course / contact drills class. Patrolling and SUT are large topics that I can only hope to touch on in a two to three day class. Training time is of the essence.
So do I:
1) Insist that attendance on my combat rifle / contact drills course is a requirement prior to attending any of my other courses? I have only been running classes since May so my pool of students is still small, and how many would return for any particular weekend? That in itself is a scheduling problem.
2) Run a three day patrolling or SUT course that would include the combat rifle range stuff on day 1, with the other contact drills spread through the weekend around the patrolling / SUT stuff?
3) How to people feel about three day courses? Mosby does it. Another option would be to still insist on the two day combat rifle /contact drills course as a pre-requisite, but then run the patrolling/SUT classes as a three day course to maximize training time and give students the maximum benefit. 
4) I would consider taking another trusted course as fulfilling the training prerequisite. The only one that springs to mind is Mosby’s course right now (I’m open to suggestions). If I know that you have fairly recently attended a trusted combat rifle course equivalent, that is not a square range tacticool affair, then that could work also. 
Please leave comment and we can work this one out.
Live Hard, Die Free.
MV

9 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    My 2 cents would be to combine 1 and 4, providing a qualified group to take the SUT/patrolling classes. Offer the class once per quarter as a replacement for your standard class thus giving additional time to build and verify a base of students who meet the criteria to take the class. As the need and pool of applicants rises you could expand the availability to once per month.

  2. Yes! What Anon said. Or maybe even Bi-yearly until either a vetted student base or demand grows, then up to either tri-yearly, or quarterly.
    That way A) it gives interested people time to take the prerequisite classes, and B) it doesn’t totally overwhelm the availability of the standard Contact/Combat Rifle classes, which it would seem to do if you go any more than quarterly with it.
    Seeing as how I would bet more people will be up for/interested in the shorter-term 2-day combat rifle classes anyway (and frankly, if those go any less than two days, I don’t see how you’d work even just that info in, let alone provide justification for people to attend due to distance/cost etc.), it still leaves a good number of slots there, not to mention keeping options for the low-speed high-drag guys like myself who want to take something off the square range, but know we can’t handle 4 days of humping a pack through the woods yet.

    The thing you want to avoid (and I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here)is a situation like some other instructors have, where they offer a couple different specialized classes, but they only happen a couple times a year, and then they fill up in two seconds and you can never get in.

    As far as class numbers- just wait for it. Given that AARs are starting to hit major sites like ArfCom, you’ll probably start having to turn people away. In fact, I’m surprised what’s left of this year isn’t gone already, given the propensity of us gun owners to jump on the “newest most legit” thing… LoL

    • To clarify- by justification, I don’t mean that it wouldn’t be worth it- just that if I was driving up from say, Georgia like some folks have apparently done (or further, flying, etc.) I would be thinking a lot harder about travel costs Vs learning experience for a 1 day class, than a 2-day class. It sucks to say that, but the wallet always has the last say.
      That would, I think, cut out a lot of people who would otherwise attend.

      And I know you never mentioned cutting the Combat/Contact classes down, it was just a thought I wanted to throw in, as I know a lot of other instructors run 1-day “basic” classes. It’s a cool idea, as not everyone can always get both weekend days off, until the wallet comes out and then you start looking at the massive ammo count of some of these “basic” classes, gas, travel, etc. and suddenly it’s not so appealing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Have you considered the use of blank firing systems?

    UTM (www.utmworldwide.com) They are fully compatible with most AR platforms with the added bonus of having a specially designed bolt with an off centre firing pin so that if a live round is loaded, the UTM bolt’s firing pin.

    Or a much cheaper alternative is to just buy a load of BFA’s and use with standard 5.56mm blanks. Perfect to develop the initial “dry” skills before going live. If you want to go even further then you could also try sourcing ex MILES kit. Airsoft and paintball I think would lower the style of training you give, a kind of step back. Keep it as real as possible.

    This lot use MILES for their games.
    http://www.tru-combat.com/
    http://www.1shepherd.com/

    With ref your courses: I don’t know if you intend to include this or already do, but maybe elements of your patrolling/SUT courses can include stuff like ground sign awareness/ground tracking, cache locating/hides/combat indicators ect. The sort of non kenetic stuff a lot of us were getting trained in prior to going on Telic and Herrick.

  4. Brian from Georgia says:

    I’d do all but #4. It may reach the broadest audience.

    5-6 times a year: 2-day Patrol/SUT with 2-day Combat Rifle as a prerequisite. This would be your mainstay and would be good for all the “local” guys.

    2-3 times a year: 3-day Combat Rifle/Patrol/SUT for the long-distance guys. I have a buddy from Wyoming that is considering, but he’d probably only make one trip. He would get the most out of the travel costs this way. You could actually do this on the same weekend as a 2-day Patrol/SUV class: Friday is Combat Rifle for new guys and then Sat-Sun is Patrol/SUT for both the new guys and alumni.

    2-3 times a year: 3-day Patrol/SUT with 2-day Combat Rifle as prerequisite. This might be good for long-distance alumni. It definitely should include an overnight in a patrol base.
    While I’m on a role, the 3-day Patrol/SUT COI would come from Contact! and would include Chapter 5 fieldcraft and basic movement/manuever, security and tactical terrain and lots of content from Chapter 10 Patrols. I’d have students patrol and set up a patrol base (be nice and pre-dig the shell scrapes:)), use maps to define rendezvous points and objective rally points, take action on an objective and all that good stuff. Plus whatever essential SUT content you could fit in.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Max, you might consider back-to-back classes, your 2-day contact class, and then the patrolling class. This would make for a 5-day session, but solve the safety issues you brought up. Of course you could offer this class once every quarter to fill class size for you. Shotgun

  6. Anonymous says:

    The surface issue is that we are driven to want Level 2 after we have completed Level 1, Level 3 after Level 2, … . The underlying issue is we are balancing the return on our time and money spent against our desired EGO boost of having completed Levels 1- 999, with no backsliding.

    I have taken Max’s CR/CD course twice. Even though it was the same content, it wasn’t the same course the second pass through, because I wasn’t the same student. The first time, I did the drills. The second time, i knew what was coming and that gave me time to think about how to improve my performance and put more elements of my performance into my subconscious where I don’t have to think about them. The next time I take Max’s CR/CD course, the third time, even more elements of the drills/skills will get locked into my subconscious.

    As much as I want to progress, I need more time with the basics, to lock those skills into my subconscious. I don’t practice the live fire, buddy pair/team CR/CD skills anywhere except at Max’s. I couldn’t, Max’s facility is one of a kind, and I don’t have the people to train with.

    I have pushed Max to offer more, as have many others. I am rethinking that. I am going to continue taking Max’s CR/CD course working on getting the Basic drills/skills to be reflexive. If I am honest with myself, I am not there yet. It takes thousands of reps to burn these drills/skills into the subconscious.

    On how to proceed with Level 2,…: “If there is doubt, there is no doubt.”
    Max you are doing a great job training us. If we are ready for more, tell us. If we need more time with the basics, tell us.

    Joe

  7. davy crocket says:

    How about a DIY or “train the trainer ” course. a long course to train other instructor. Then they could travel to groups and train them to your standards on the combat rifle course. A amped Appleseed course with traveling instructors in different areas. A patriot a team. Once groups get up to speed they could come to you for the advanced course.

  8. Ryan says:

    I would lean towards a combination of 2 and 4. Maybe split the difference and run a 3 day course that did the individual and team movement in a slightly abbreviated format on day 1 as a no prerequisite option and a 2 day if folks have taken your rifle course or another sufficient rifle course with IMT, etc.

    I suppose it depends on how often you want to run the SUT/ patrolling course. If it’s only those who did your rifle course or JM’s then my gut says it’s probably going to be a 1-2x a year thing for the foreseeable future.