The Yelling

I’m currently down in Texas between classes. We wrapped up the 4 Day Combat Team Tactics Class  yesterday, and students are coming in tonight for the next class, which is the 5 day Combat Team Tactics / Convoy Tactics class. The reason I am taking a moment to write this post is that there appears to be an issue that needs addressing. It is always debatable whether silly issues should be addressed or not, because there is a certain ‘no smoke without fire’ aspect to it. By which I mean (for example): If I feel the need to tell you that ‘I don’t hate you,’ my merely saying that to you will probably lead you to think that I do, or otherwise why say it? Psychology I guess!

It has come to my attention that there is word on the street in some circles that there is ‘yelling’ by cadre at MVT classes. I am not sure what to make of this. As usual, these things mainly come from those who have never been to an MVT class (and perhaps a disgruntled student or two – odd given the excellent student reviews that come in?) But I was sufficiently concerned by this to specifically address it in the class wrap-up AAR yesterday, because there is yelling at MVT classes, about which I will get into more detail in a bit. No-one had any issues with the class. Even the 13 year old student, son of the organizer, was fine with it!

I was specifically persuaded to write this post because I had a chat with an alumni who just showed up who told me that a well known trainer had, at one of his classes, specifically asked him why he would spend money coming to MVT, only to be yelled at. So there is another reason why this is being perpetuated – trainer rivalry.

So here it is: MVT classes are unique. No-one is doing anything like it. Most trainers focus on the easy, the individual ‘gunfighter’ / weapon manipulation drills on the flat range. We are teaching combat-proven small unit tactics, live fire. There is a designed, layered progression but there is also a learning curve because we only have a few days to teach these things. This means that students have to pay attention and stay with the curve, stay with the safety requirements, in order to progress through the class. We teach these things not because it is easy for us, but because we care about the students, and because we care about excellence. At the end, you have learned invaluable skills. Nothing that is said or done at the classes is done with malice towards any of the students; they are intensive classes, but still attainable. We do not yell for the sake of yelling, or for our egos. In fact one of the interesting things from the AAR yesterday was in reference to the ability to change approach depending on an assessment of the personality of the student – whether to go hard or soft to keep them on the track of the class. Going hard with a soft personality (a wife on the last class was the perfect example), will simply cause them to shut down. We have skill at this, we are tactical instructors, and not everyone who can ‘operate’ can teach.

So why will there be yelling at class, and what type of yelling?:

  • Classes comprise of lecture periods and rehearsals, followed by live fire practice of the specific drill being taught. There is no yelling during lectures and rehearsals, perhaps just a bit of good natured banter.
  • During live fire iterations, there is yelling. This is in the form of commands being yelled, ‘squad leader style’ over the noise of the live fire. Students will yell at each other and instructors will yell commands. This may also take the form of corrective action during live fire drills, such as a yelled command to ‘push right’ or similar to adjust formations for safety reasons (safety angles etc).
  • There may be yelling initially over the noise of live fire, followed by perhaps stern corrective action (speaking to) if a safety violation happens. This is absolutely essential and will depend exactly on the nature of the infraction. A simple mistake can be corrected, but if a student is continually unable to stay with the safety curve, then it may ultimately lead to them being benched out of the class (rarely happens). The ‘talking to’ is designed to drive home the point and allow the student to stay with the class, while not endangering the safety of other students / cadre.
  • Regarding the above point, there would not be any need for any of that if we were not running the type of classes that we are. If we were just casually bench shooting, or teaching easy skills on the square range, there is no yelling. In fact there is no yelling when MVT teaches those types of easy relaxed skills. But you either want to be able to do SUT, or you don’t. There is also another type of yelling, and this is deliberate aggression. This may take place for example during a live fire squad attack, when the assault team is not moving fast enough and losing aggression / momentum. If I am with that team I will be yelling aggressively to ‘Come on!’ ‘Get Up There!’ etc in order to create and instill aggression. Because we are training to kill people, and we don’t want our precious snowflakes to die on the assault before even making it to the enemy objective. Because you understand that this is light infantry tactics and we are training for battle, right? This happens in the moment and is over when it is done. You do realize that the instructors are never losing control when we do any of this, right? We are being aggressive / yelling because we assess that it is needed in the moment, for the training scenario. We have all been at this far too long to not know this. We have all been professional soldiers and we have been deployed and done this for real. It is not a game. We are teaching you this to keep you alive should you ever need to fight.
  • A further aspect to this is the culture and the banter. Yes, we are civilians. We are not doing the drill sergeant thing. We don’t yell for the sake of yelling, but we yell when it is needed during live fire scenarios. We also tailor the banter to the student. A sensitive person will get treated more gently than a robust one – all based on how we assess the right approach to give you the best training experience. There is grown up banter. I recall this last class that I addressed some students several times as ‘raving lunatics’ but this is not done without humor. One team started to let themselves down at one point and I knew they could do better, so they were named ‘team retard’ in their debrief after one drill. They improved it on the next drill, but one guy pirouetted, so they were elevated to ‘team ballerina.’ They then started to do really well and so as not to let it go to their heads, they became ‘team so-so.’ All banter, and all in good humor. Happy smiley students at the end of class. John, a multiple alumni, was here for class and was helping out with range set-up and target movement. He got a really hard time, because he was doing well, but then  temporarily slipped into a bit of complacency, and needed to be challenged to improve.

We would not be able to achieve the unique results that we do, with the unique depth of training that we provide, without the ability to shelve a little ego, get some good natured banter going, and really get into some excellent small unit tactics training. This is not corporate culture, and maybe a shock to some, but don’t let me get into why your emasculated corporate culture is not really helping you train to be a warrior…..we have no time for snowflakes, delicate egos, and safe spaces. This is the real deal. Things like yelling are clearly so far out of modern corporate culture that when they happen on a live fire tactical range, it may be a shock to some. But so is training to kill people to keep your family alive.

  1. Constructive Correction. We don’t nag, mock, attack or demean students. If banter is seen to not be welcome, or causing upset, it will stop.
  2. We care, we want you to learn this, and survive.
  3. Those that want to attack MVT, or make excuses to why they will not attend, can find nothing to criticize. We are the leaders in this training  field. They are grasping at yelling as a straw. That is all.
  4. Although this is fun training, it is not a vacation. It is deadly serious training. You either see the hard need for it in these uncertain times, or you don’t.

Now, here we come to the hard stuff. What is in your control that can make the class easier for you, and less likely that you may be yelled at for a safety violation? I put a lot of information out there about physical fitness. Many ignore it. This is a problem. Physical fitness is part of your holistic approach to survival and tactical training. There are nuances here:

  • MVT classes are not really that physically hard. This is not Ranger School in terms of fitness and starvation. If you are in reasonable shape, you will be fine. On the other hand, the fitter you are, the better you will do at both class, and survival.
  • However, if you fail to listen to any of the preparation advice on PT, smoke 60 a day and fill your face with Krispy Kreme’s, then you will suffer. You will start to suck air on the drills and lose focus. You will start to make safety mistakes and not be paying attention. You will then receive a corrective talk.
  • We do go to huge lengths to accommodate those at class who are physically unprepared, or who even sustain an injury during class. It is even part of the initial safety brief for Combat Team Tactics. We make the point that you are there to learn, not get smoked. If you are getting smoked anyway, then it may become an issue. I simply make the point that both for class and survival you need to be doing PT. Laziness seems to be such a problem with people. You are hurting yourselves, and your chances of survival. Why drop money for a professional tactical class and not make any effort to get in a little bit better shape? One student at this last class lost 50 lbs in preparation for training at MVT – what an excellent life choice!

Here are some other recent posts that address some of the ego / fear of failure / fear of looking a fool / Dunning- Kruger type issues that are all closely related to the aspects in this post:

‘Training the Right Way, and without the Intimidation Factor.’

‘Memes of Bravado and Blades of Grass Quotes.’

‘Jack Donovan: All Training is Sacrifice.’

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I am posting almost real-time video clips and photos of the Texas classes on Instagram: @maxvelocitytactical – it takes me a little longer to prepare YouTube video like the one below. Please follow in IG for updates!

Here is a little video from the 4 day that was just completed. Including some yelling:

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