Last week I had the pleasure to take a semi-private instructor class from John and Vicki Farnam. John and Vicki run Defense Training International and DTI for Women. They are two of the instructors who have been at the top of my “must take a class from” list for awhile. So, when my friend and mentor, Kathy Jackson, called and asked if I wanted to join her and a couple of others for this class, I jumped at the chance.
The class was held here in Colorado. Just not close enough to home to avoid a short hotel stay. The first day we were scheduled to meet out at the range, but we were greeted by a blizzard (yes, this happens in March most years here in CO). Instead of being on the range Vicki suggested meeting elsewhere, where it was warm and the hospitality was above and beyond, even with a brief interruption in the electrical grid.
That first day of class was lecture day. I have to say that while most of the topics that were covered were not exactly new to me, I still learned a lot! The Farnams bring a ton of experience to the table and can help you to see things from a different prospective, which I really appreciate. We talked about some of the differences in teaching men and women and why this is. I have never had a problem teaching either gender before, but understanding a little more about this will definately help going forward.
One more thing I need to mention about day one is that to listen to John talk about training students to defend their lives is really inspiring. He believes (and I agree) that we are giving our students the tools to be victorious. This does not necessarily equate to giving our students all the answers, but it does mean giving them the tools that they need in proper context so if the time ever comes for them to have to defend themselves (or a loved one) that they will be able to act appropiately. To quote John, “dithering is the kiss of death.” Our job as instructors is to help students fill in the blanks and have the skills they will need to keep themselves safe when faced with adversity. *This* is exactly how Jeff and I approach this whole thing called self-defense and hearing John Farnam speak of this just reinforced to me that we are doing this right. Talk about a warm and fuzzy moment!
Enough of the warm and fuzzy moments, already. Day two was range day. We traveled over snow covered roads to arrive at a snow covered range, it was in the low 30’s when we arrived and the wind was blowing over the Colorado plains. Luckily, the sun was not too far behind. The snow quickly melted, the tempreture rose to a comfortable level and the winds died down. We were now happily tromping through mud. I’ll take it!
On day two I really got to see Vicki shine as an instructor. I was having a mini meltdown because everything on the range suddenly felt new to me again. I was working with a newer gun, a new grip and working on fixing my existing stance. All this while thinking about the choreography of a new shooting program. The combination of these things tend to play some mind games with you. I can say that Vicki stuck with me and helped me get to where I needed to be on this day. She was patient and encouraging but firm. She knew exactly how to fix what was going wrong at any given time and was there with praise when something went right. At one point she started telling me that I had shots going through the same hole on my target as I shot, which I really needed to hear at that moment! My biggest take-away from day two was to remember how my students may feel learning new and foreign things in my classes. It is a humbling experience, even for a professional.
If you ever have the chance, go take a class with John and Vicki! They are two of the best instructors and nicest people in the industry. Heck, you may even seek them out. If you do, please tell them that I said “hello”.
I am afraid that they will have a hard time getting rid of me. They left a big impression on me as and instructor and as a person.