That's where Travis Haley comes in. Travis definitely knows what disruptive environments are. He is a veteran Force Reconnaissance Marine who spent 15 years experiencing every kind of chaotic situation you can imagine. As a trainer, a Disruptive Environments class with him is exactly what it sounds like ... he drastically alters the structure, surroundings and conditions during a particular shooting scenario; all with the intention of emphasizing your failure points. Sounds like fun and good for the ego, right? But, believe it or not, it is exactly what you need to become a better shooter and to effectively defend yourself in any situation. Let me explain...
Along with my husband, I have taken fundamental handgun classes with Travis in the past, and his unique ability to apply science, biomechanics, and logic to the basics of handgun manipulation and shooting have helped me to progress in my three short years of shooting. Part of the reason is that he pushes you to your failure points; he teaches you to self-diagnose and self-correct so that you can continue to train on your own. Another reason that his classes excel above all others is that you get to know yourself better, both as a shooter and a person. It's hard to explain, but Travis makes you want to surpass your limitations, whatever they may be --- and to do it for you, not to please him.
So let's get down to the specifics of this class. Disruptive Environments:Handgun/Vehicle/Darkness was three days of using critical thinking skills, along with honing weapons manipulation skills and applying them to not only changing positions while shooting; but shooting inside and outside of a car, both during the day, low-light situations and at night; and with and without flashlights. Let's just say that very few people in the class had trained with all these goals in mind. Under these circumstances, it wasn't hard to recognize your failure points... lots of failure points. Some of them involved equipment. We quickly learned which flashlights were user-friendly in a tactical situation. Failure points also came in terms of abilities to search, identify, adapt and move when confronted with a threat.
Our class was filled with a wide variety of shooters. There were federal agents who were trainers themselves; Grand Master match shooters, Special Operations soldiers, law enforcement officers, and civilians. No matter what your level of expertise, or your number of years of shooting, we all found our failure points. It was interesting to see that even those who shoot for a living have something to learn. And if you can't let go of your pride, then learning from those failure points will be harder to accomplish.
Everyone is there to reach a failure point and to advance their skills. As my husband, whose name literally means Peace-Loving Warrior, often reminds me, "It's better to be the little fish, surrounded by the big fish. You learn more that way."
And my brain is so full of all that I learned. Personally, this class was physically difficult for me. I was the oldest in the class and the one with the least experience... but no excuses; my failure points were epic and evident. But I signed up for the class, knowing it would be challenging, and wanting to push myself. If I was going to be able to effectively defend myself in any situation, I had to put myself out there and fail. And I did. But I also knew that Travis Haley is the best at helping me find those failure points and showing me how to overcome them. And he did.
But I can't lie; the first morning after the class, when I pulled my exhausted body and mind from the shadows of sleep, I spent about an hour crying. I was embarrassed over some of the mistakes I had made, and disappointed in my performance. I knew I would have to work out some problems; it just seemed like there were so many. As I sat in silence, collecting my thoughts, my husband asked, "What are you thinking?" I looked at him, and through swollen eyes, I said, "I want to start preparing right now for next year's class, and take Disruptive Environments: Handgun/Vehicle/Darkness again."
And that, my friends, is why I continue to train with Travis Haley. He challenges you to inspire yourself. He helps you find your failure points so you can become a better you. I have bought my Bosu ball to begin perfecting my balance and conditioning, and I have an appointment tomorrow to begin rehabbing my knees to gain the flexibility and strength I need to run, drop to a knee and move quickly to a new position.
I may no longer be "a spring chicken", as Travis so delicately reminded me, but that doesn't mean I won't come back next year stronger, more determined, and with increased effectiveness. I know what I have to work on physically and in my training, and I will spend the next year doing what I have to do to fix my failure points ... and ready to have him show me new ones. Thank you, Travis!
Philippians 3:13 "Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead..."