By Jeremy Brown (Treadstone Defensive Tactics)

I keep having to look in the metaphorical mirror while I write this ProTip. Most of my life I have feared failure (I still do). I would rather tell you that I’m just okay at something (that I know I’m good at) for fear that I will fail to live up to your expectations. I would rather not get up in front of a class to demo shooting, for fear that I might fail to get the nice, tight grouping that I think I should get. There have been so many opportunities in life that I passed up because I feared failure.

Several years ago, I had the privilege and honor to take a firearms training course taught by two Navy Seals.  One was a Seal Sniper and the other was a Team 6 member. After we had been shooting for a while I asked the Team 6 instructor if he had any advice for me. He told me that I need to speed up my shooting until I started missing the target. In my head I was thinking, “you want me to go faster and miss the target in front of all these people...are you nuts?” He then explained that until I knew my failure point I wouldn’t be able to get better. It’s not really all that novel of a concept but for me it was eye opening.  

Fear of failure holds us back. Without failure we won’t reach the level of proficiency that we are capable of achieving.

In Krav Maga and in firearms training we are training for worst-case scenarios. We know that in a violent attack, with all the stress and chaos we never perform at 100% of our capability.  In theory, best-case we will perform at 80% of our ability (more realistically, we even won’t reach that high).  We need to train until our 80% is better then the bad guy's 100%. We can’t do this unless we are willing to train until failure.

Tips on training to failure:

  • First learn the skill, then push your boundaries until you get it wrong. Next, dial it back a little and train at that level until it becomes easy.  Then repeat the process.

  • Don’t train to failure every single time. Learn when and how to use training to failure.  More time should be trained to success (we need to develop confidence) - but you do need failure from time to time.

  • If given an opportunity don’t pass it up for fear of failing at it. Even if you fail at it, you will have learned something.

  • Don’t let failing stop you from continuing. Take failure, learn from it, and then move on.

  • Remember that failure does not define who you are!

Take your training to the next level!

Train Hard and Be Safe

Jeremy