Todd at Pistol-Training.Com talks about about the problem of infighting withing the professional training community; he spotlights a specific example of a trainer/forum poster that attacks instructors whose schools he hasn’t he attended. I’m not qualified to speak to the instructor infighting specifically, but rather how that trend translates to the student community.
All instructors have fans; and it stands to reason that students will probably like a specific instructor more than other instructors, whether it’s based on personality, technique, or that student’s perceived gains in the class. That’s perfectly fine, since most people are smart enough to not get overly attached to a specific instructor. “Most people” however is not “all people”. What you’ll encounter in the student world is what Tam has called “My sensei can beat up your sensei”. You see this most frequently on gun forums in their “tactics/training” whatever section, where someone will post a class AAR, which will then be greeted with responses ranging from “that guy is a terrible trainer” to “you’re just a fanboy”. The problem with the student infighting is that it dilutes the message for prospective students trying to make an informed decision about where to go to gunschool.
My personal thought on what different schools you should go to is pretty straightforward: “There are many paths to the top of the mountain, and some are faster than others.” I believe that it’s extremely beneficial for me as the eternal student to “use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it” (Bruce Lee). That means that I want to be exposed to different trainers, different schools, and different ideas about shooting. From those schools and trainers I take what works for me and add that practice and discipline to my shooting growth. As a student, never be afraid to attend a different school. Say you took a Gunsite class and you really like their school of thought and the techniques they teach. Just because you liked Gunsite’s training doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a class from US Training Center or Pistol-Training.Com. Many ways to the top of the mountain, and each of us will take an individual path.
Choose your instructors wisely, and spend your training dollars well – but don’t be afraid to attend a class that teaches a different set of skills, or a different philosophy about shooting just because you really liked the Magpul class you took. I personally hope that I never stop learning new stuff about shooting and about my skill – as long as I’m learning, there is always room for improvement. Whether it’s developing mechanical skills or mindset, it will never hurt you as a shooter to try something new. If it works, keep it. If it doesn’t, don’t worry about it.