Make Yourself Harder to Kill
Editor's Note: This is a discussion by Skip Coryell on his show. Here is the link
Last week we had a great interview with Gabe Suarez of Suarez International, and it turned out to be the most listened to show since I started The Home Defense Show almost two years ago. Gabe is very insightful (and inciteful to some) and I always take his comments to heart. One thing he said that has really convicted me is this: “There are excellence seekers in every endeavor, but excellence is not a right given to you by the constitution. And let’s face it, the majority of the people today are lazy … and they’ll pinch a penny until Lincoln’s guts drag on the deck … they’ll do the least amount possible or necessary to get the little piece of paper that says it’s cool for them to carry.”
Gabe’s words are a very sad truth. Most concealed carry holders do not value training … until they need it and don’t have it. And excellence is not bequeathed to you upon your birth. Rights are given to you by God, but excellence has to be earned through toil and practice and repetition.
I suppose I’m guilty of this as well, at least to some extent. I recommend to my students that they take at least one advanced level class each year, and that they fire one hundred rounds a month just to maintain that proficiency. Having said that, I too find it difficult to get in those one hundred practice rounds every month. As an instructor, I get plenty of time on the range, probably about twenty hours per month, and even more than that in the warmer weather. But time teaching on the range isn’t the same as shooting on the range. One is theory and the other is practical.
For example, I was teaching a church safety team just last night, and we got done about an hour before dark. I was tired and hot and sweaty, and my biggest desire was to buy a can of ice cold Mountain Dew on the drive home, guzzle it down, and then sit in front of a fan while watching an action flick. Instead, I stayed another forty-five minutes on the range and had a good workout. What I discovered was I need to do that more often. I’d gotten rusty. One of the things I’ve started doing is shooting with my students, especially during the smaller advanced level classes. This serves three valuable purposes:
- It gives me valuable shooting time.
- It demonstrates for the students what I’d like them to do.
- It gives the students confidence that I not only talk the talk, but that I also walk the walk.
Of course, that last one only works if I shoot well. So I’ve taken Gabe’s words to heart, not just in shooting, but in every aspect of my life. I’ve been working on my next novel The Blind Man’s Rage for over two years now. I need to finish that but I just never seem to find the time, and my loyal readers are getting impatient. I understand that so I’ve put my nose to the grindstone and I’m making good progress on it. One of my favorite movies is City Slickers with Billy Crystal. At the end of the movie Billy Crystal is back home with his wife and she asks if he’s going to quit the job that he hates, and he replies “No, I’m just going to do it better.” In other words, he’s going to strive for and earn excellence.
Another thing Gabe and I discussed was physical fitness. Gabe made this comment that really says it all. “Strong and fit people are harder to kill, and they’re better at killing bad guys.” What does that mean? In my advanced classes, I have a drill where I have people put on gloves and punch a heavy bag for thirty seconds. You can always tell the ones who exercise from the ones who don’t. Most of middle-aged male students will last about fifteen seconds before their punches begin to slow and lose power. Even some of the younger guys have trouble after twenty seconds. That adrenaline dump into your bloodstream won’t last forever, and once you’ve shot your wad, it’ll leave you feeling weak and shaky. And the less you exercise, the weaker you’ll feel.
In just a few more months I’ll turn sixty-one years old. Do you realize that a year after that I’ll be eligible for social security? That’s a scary wake-up call for me. But here’s the deal: just because you’re getting older, doesn’t mean you have to roll over and surrender because some young buck wants to kill you. To the contrary, it means the older you get, the fatter your get, the weaker you get, the more likely you are to be seen as a victim. Staying lean and mean helps you win that violent confrontation, but it also acts as a deterrent to crimes that haven’t happened yet.
Getting in shape and staying in shape is a constant struggle for me. Every time I pass a Mountain Dew cooler, I want to stop and buy one, especially the twelve-ounce cans, because they intrigue me for some perverted reason known only to God and my own psyche. Last night after a long, hard day of working, I wanted to just flop into bed, instead I went out to my office and I lifted weights for just ten minutes. Will it make me a body builder? No, but it keeps me moving and in the right frame of mind. Start slow and build. Here’s what I’ve learned: Getting in shape is not a sprint; it’s a marathon, and it lasts for the rest of your life. And now it’s time to end this rant and get back to my ice water with a slice of lemon. But remember this one quote attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte and incorporate it into your life.
“The reason most people fail, is they give up what they want most, for what they want at the moment.”
And that’s what I really think.