Common saying with deeper meanings

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” You’ll find all sorts of people saying this one to justify why they took four seconds to clear leather and put aimed fire on target. You’ll find self proclaimed gun gurus like John P. Corriea rage against this saying and claiming that it’s a worthless saying. Unfortunately, he’s more of an “gunternet celebrity” than combat veteran.

So what does it actually mean? It means slow down and deliberately do what you are doing when stressed. Whether that is changing barrels on a machine gun, draw/press/fire, or any other mult-step action that you can easily screw up by not aligning something just right, not pulling the cover garment all the way, etc. This means that when you find yourself needing to do that action, in a circumstance that you haven’t trained in, such as now you are wearing winter gloves, you should deliberately focus on what you are doing so that you don’t muck it up. At night, under night vision, in winter gloves, is an additional layer of difficulty that you didn’t experience on the square range mid afternoon. At night, under night vision, wearing winter gloves, while explosions are going off around you and an enemy is firing on you from positions you can’t identify is yet an additional layer of stress where remembering “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” is going to help you accomplish that task without fumbling.

If you are paying for training, and your instructor doesn’t understand the purpose of “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” you should find a different trainer.

“Train as you fight” or the corollary “You’ll fight like you train.” Some people believe this means you need to be all combat all the time, everything absolutely as realistic “on da streetz” as possible. If drills aren’t done full force on force with resistance, they are worthless because you aren’t training like you fight. These people are idiots. What this really boils down to is “train seriously so you’ll fight seriously.” If you half ass your ready up drills for close quarters battle and don’t care to get a tight shot group, you’ll not suddenly “rise to the occasion” if you have to clear an apartment complex room by room looking for Abu Shiithead. Whatever skills you trained, those are the skills you’ll bring into a fight.

If you are paying for training, and your instructor is always justifying full force resistance drills rather than mastering the mechanics of a technique because “you’ll fight like you train” you should find a different trainer.

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.” This is an old saying with for military folks, and it’s not very applicable for almost everybody else. Physical training is to improve your physical fitness, combat skills training is to let you engage in offensive combat operations to kill the enemies of the state with greater efficiency and violence. However, to the uninformed it can become a totem statement, that if you just “train enough” you’ll be “ready for anything.” As someone who’s lost highly trained friends to crap we never expected, training won’t make you immortal. Others also use this saying as justification for unnecessary physicality in training (at least in my experience with military instructors). I don’t need to carry a 230 lbs of man and gear a mile on my back to know that it sucks doing a manual casualty evacuation uphill to get to the LZ for a medivac helicopter, figured that one right out the first time.

For civilians (and I specifically includes law enforcement in the definition of civilian), since you aren’t training for war, you probably shouldn’t be too worried about “bleeding in combat.”  However, if a terrorist attack does happen, and you are a three gun competitor, by all means make like a hero and bust  a cap in the enemies of the state.

However, if you aren’t specifically training for combat, and you have an instructor pull out the saying, “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat” you probably need to rethink who you pay to provide you training. Or if your instructor sells the idea that if you do everything right, such as kydex friction retention holster with condition zero Glock 19 and two spare mags plus a tourniquet permanently on your belt and a sub two second draw to fire time you’ll be fine…. Or you’ll end up like Amber Guyger.  Because you forgot “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” don’t be in a rush to kill someone unless you are certain you can live with the consequences either way.

So train like you’ll fight, seriously about it. Remind yourself when under stress that “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” and be deliberate with your actions so you don’t fumble. And keep training your body to be faster and fitter, because even if you don’t plan on going into combat, having a more physically fit body will always make you a harder target. Find instructors that aren’t selling a resume and will work to help you get better at the skills you need to master, not the skills that make you feel cool.

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