I stumbled upon yet another character on the web that criticizes knife instructors (in general) and their various titles. I was not mentioned and someone else was the real, make-fun-of target. How dare we teach knife tactics and not be Jim Bowie? How dare you call yourself a knife “expert,” is the theme.
Lots of titles in topics, basic, advanced, expert, subject matter expert, master (lots of pros use that acronym “SME”– I do) etc. The complainers like to ask, “how many of these guys have ever been in a knife fight?” Many of these complainers also like to say that knife trainers are not needed. “Just stick the pointy end in. Ha-ha.” This ignores the myriad of laws, situations and skills. I am reminded of some of the 1960s and 1970s police ground fighting training we received that was summed up with,
“Tackle. Punch. ‘Swim’ to a choke. Handcuff the unconscious suspect.” Oh, it’s just THAT easy? Then why all the time and grade training. That’s like the “just stick the pointy end in” easy?
Anyway, frequently these “pointy-end-in” complainers are so often dedicated gun guys, who should then be content with just “sticking the pointy end of a bullet in.” Right? But instead, they spend fortunes on never-ending, redundant before-during-and-after shooting courses from…instructors who have never been in any gunfights either. Famous yes? Maybe? Close – but no real-world, cigar. Then they get certified from non-gunfight teachers. People think of the title master as a martial arts rank only but there are gun programs that create gun masters, gun experts and even gun grandmasters.
Which is my point (pun intended). Declaring that all knife instructors must have been in numerous knife fights to teach, is like asking the same of gun instructors. Same-same, yet the U.S. is chock full of very busy shooting instructors who have never been in gun fights. Chock, chock full. What about all these combatives and “Kuraty” black belts and instructors who have never been in so-called “real” fights (not talking about ubiquitous, average tournaments here. If you want to be a sports champion, there are many experienced sport champs around to learn from). But, the “must have been in” rule is either a broad rule for all, or not much a rule.
In the big picture, not many people have “been in” anything they teach. For example, we know that many business expert, college professors and economists have never run a single business. There are many trained expert astronauts that have never been in outer space. There are many trained Chinese history experts who’ve never step foot in China. Should I go on and on with this never-ending list? You know what I mean.
So, what about the “Next Best Thing” rule? Most of the world has never “been in” a hand, stick, knife and gun fight. Most of these other topic instructors never have either. And folks do like to learn from those that have been “in.” But such sources and contacts are hard to find and expensive. So instead, most of the world meet downliners and this is where we get the titles “first generation, second generation” instructor nomenclature and why such designations might actually be important. And folks learn from researching the field. After a period of time of one or both study sources, these thirsty downline folks can become smart, subject matter experts. Oops, there’s that “expert” word again.
I myself have spent a lot of time and money traveling far and wide to train with really experienced people. I see and feel the experience. The advantage. The military and policing life have offered up these connections to me. But I would NEVER automatically belittle anyone who has never “not-been-there, not-done-that.” Some of the smartest people I know have never “been-there, done-that,” yet have the intelligence IQ and emotional IQ to excell, and are even smarter than the original, real-world experienced pros. Oh, yes. It’s like a genetic crapshoot, a macabre dance with nature-nurture and chance. That whole topic is called, “picking the right instructor!” (Find someone smarter than you.)
So why just pick on knife teachers? As I suggested I often waste my time by looking these knife complainers up. This particular aforementioned chap, works in a bread company, a bakery-factory. Oh sure, he has the prerequisite long beard and covered in tattoos for sure, but he makes bread. And…yes, he is a gun instructor. According to his resume, he’s never been a cop or in the military and I would bet, odds are then, never been a gunfight. Otherwise, he looks to be a great guy and a patriot and dedicated family man. Thumbs up, dude. And he might be, could be still be a fantastic gun instructor, even sans a gun fight – yet still an expert handler of the material. But he is exactly like that knife instructor, sans a knife fight, he throws stones at. The saying “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” comes to haunt.
How important is “Have Been In?” How important is “Been-There, Done-That?” How important is the “Next Best Thing?” Well, source-important is vital, yes, but the sources are a tiny minority in all fields and they’re hard to find and usually expensive. You learn from the best you can find and the majority of the time, it’s from those first, second, third or more generation sources. Let’s not be ignorant complainers and loudmouths living in glass houses about these first, second or thirders. They might be smarter than you. You “learn up the ladder.” Life, learning and skill is lot more than just sticking the pointy end in. Learn up.
Coming soon from Piccadilly Publishing in Great Britain…