What Are You Training For?
What Are You Training For?
I recently posed this question to one of the CD/CT teams that I’ve been training for the past four years. Like most units, the level of commitment given to training seems to wax and wane, unfortunately they are on a steep down-swing. As an instructor it’s pretty easy to tell, not just by how they do during evaluations, but also how they act or even talk before training begins.
In a unit dedicated to training I hear talk about increasing their tactical advantage or looking for more opportunities to hone their skills. In a unit plagued by the disease of mediocrity, talk seems to center around the testing itself or how long we’ll be training. Why is someone asking me how many negative marks they can get during their tactical evaluation? To a true warrior, someone dedicated to training, the answer is simple: Zero. That’s how many times you can turn your back to a guy with a gun in combat and live to tell the tale. Once you put your sights on the bottom of what’s acceptable, you’ve found your range and sometimes you’ll be just above (Yes, I barely passed!) and other times below (I thought I could die four times and still pass?).
Over the past few years I’ve talked a lot about the technical aspects of combat training, but never thought to ask why you’re training. If it’s to put holes in paper targets on a sunny day, then you’ll do fine. Read our lessons on marksmanship and any paper target that comes your way is going down! But if you ever need to defend your loved ones or your job is protecting our country, you need to look deeper. Because a miss on a paper target may give you a lower score or even a fail on an evolution, but a miss on a guy who breaks into your house with intent to do you harm could mean you’ve failed yourself and your family. So what are you training for?
If you don’t immediately know the answer or if it’s just to shoot fast, look cool, or pass your next training evaluation you’ll never have the drive needed to become a true warrior. Warriors arise from strong motivation; a motivation to survive no matter what evils come their way and that motivation is love.
Love for the people in our lives is the reason true warriors train. We train for battle to make sure we return to the ones we love. For anyone who has brushed deaths cold shoulder can tell you, it’s those faces we see when our lives ‘flash before our eyes’. You don’t see the fun times you had or any accomplishments you made, you see the pain and sorrow in their eyes knowing that you’re gone and you’re not coming back. In combat you’re not fighting for a top score or bragging rights, you fighting to spare your wife the pain of crying over your grave as she grows old without you. You’re fighting so your parents don’t need to bury the son they raised and expected to bury them. You’re fighting so you can raise your children right and protect them from harm. Because if you die in battle, the permanent pain in their hearts will be worse than any temporary pain you feel in death.
If you know this when you train, you will train that much harder; you’ll wake up early and stay up late making sure you are the best warrior you can be. You’ll never be satisfied with your performance and always look for ways to improve your chances of surviving a violent encounter. By knowing that you are training to be with the ones you love and spare them a lifetime of grief, you’ll never settle for good-enough. For defeating your enemy is the ultimate act of love.
There will come a time when you will look back at the training you’ve done and either say, this is why I failed, or this is why I prevailed. Right now you have the opportunity to choose your future and that of those you love.
There are 24 hours in a day: How many of them are you willing to spare to ensure you return home and spare your parents, your wife and your children the pain of your loss?
So I ask again, what are you training for?
Editor-in-Chief’s Note: Chris is a former Navy SEAL and the Director of Training for Center Mass Group, which was founded by two former Navy SEAL Instructors. Giving people the experience of being trained by the most elite combat unit in the world, Chris is currently a Maritime-Counter-Terrorism and advanced marksmanship Instructor who has trained DOD, DHS, FBI, CIA and multiple foreign allies in all aspects of combat weapons handling, marksmanship and Maritime Operations.