Hi All,
Robert Whiteside here.
The Greek poet, Archilochus, is credited with the saying: “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.” That saying is frequently cited alongside another saying: “Train as you’re going to Fight”). It’s ancient knowledge. Our training must fit what we are expected to manage.
Please see this instructive article, authored by Dan Pronk, and entitled: “Train as you’re going to Fight: The Importance of Reality-Based Training.” It’s over at the nice SOFREP site which contains lots of good information from many folks experienced in dealing with actual conflict.

The SOFREP article references a book by Kenneth Murray, entitled: “Training at the Speed of Life.” In Murray’s book are listed four levels of skill-integration. They are:
Unconscious incompetence – You don’t know that you don’t know.
Conscious incompetence – You know what you don’t know, and can’t do it.
Conscious competence – You can do it, but you have to think hard about it.
Unconscious competence – You can do it on autopilot
This is a useful way to frame the learning process, as well as the teaching process. One of the very valuable things I have learned in my Verbal Defense & Influence (VDI) training is that psycho-motor skills include our use of verbal skills. Verbal skills can, and should, be trained accordingly, just like other psycho-motor skills. We can, and should, use the valuable performance driven instruction method expertly taught and used by those at Vistelar. With this method, one practices a complete psycho-motor skillset in a manner in which the skills are practiced, and not simply absorbed from a book, or just discussed.
We can start with one small skill, and practice it with a partner. We then add on other skills to the first practiced skill, and then practice that. One has, then, a simple skillset, threaded together. Over time (and because they’re practiced and not simply talked about), one reaches a level of practical mastery. This all reminds me of something said by Ed Parker, creator of American Kenpo. He taught the concept that there are no so-called “advanced’ techniques. Rather, there are “sophisticated basics.” Basics, practiced over and over, threaded together, and honed to a new level, just look advanced.
As Contact Professionals, let’s continue to drill our conflict management skills in reality/scenario-based training that mimics the dynamics of the kinds of scenarios common in our own work environments. With the kind of mastery that comes out of performance driven training, we can ensure that others are actually safer in our presence.
Be safe!